Why aren't jobs being filled ?

The number of jobs in the media and market research sector has continued to grow and supports recent evidence that we’re moving into a brighter economy.  Interestingly, despite the rise in jobs, the number of jobs filled has not risen proportionately. It’s taking a lot longer to hire people. This is costly, not just in terms of income but also in terms of reputation as word gets around that jobs have been open for months.

We’ve witnessed some ridiculously drawn out lengthy recruitment processes, which we believe in many circumstances could be avoided.

Here are a few reasons pointers as to what is happening

Competition for key skills.  The search for specialist talent is extremely competitive.

There are more opportunities at the lower/ mid-level of the job market, typically for salaries in the range of £24,000 – £35,000. This is mainly due to an increase in projects and revenue, which allows for internal promotion. In turn this creates a gap at the lower level and the need to recruit some experience to support a growing team. In addition, the number of companies who are hiring has increased dramatically, in particular boutique agencies, which are doing really well as a result of an increase in demand from clients for specialist services. These boutiques will frequently compete with larger agencies in their search for qualified staff with industry experience.

What no graduates?  The shortage of candidates at the less experienced end, is a direct knock on effect from the dramatic reduction of graduate intakes, 2 years ago, when the job market was extremely stagnant. Furthermore there is less movement as companies are starting to see growth and are now able to offer career development opportunities to their employees and therefore increase their rats of employee retention. There are fewer active job seekers at this level in comparison to 2 or 3 years ago.

The need for emerging skills. The need for new specialist skills, and in particular Digital, Mobile, Innovation & Social Media has dramatically increased and is still relatively disproportionate to the number of qualified candidates in these areas. The marketing industry is still evolving. Big agencies have established teams  to address this and are able to train at the lower end, however they  sometimes fail to attract the right  talent at middle management level, as they are viewed as being too traditional in their outlook. This is reflected sometimes in the interview process. If you want to attract the best new thinkers to your business, make sure your interviewers are real enthusiasts and will clearly show their passion for the work they do. 

Poor job briefs: no detail, nothing to sell, nothing to differentiate from competitors.  Our market research and insight team can be typically working on 15 -20 Senior Research Executive/ Research Manager briefs  all within market research agencies. Many of the job descriptions are generic and don’t bring the role to life.  One could argue that this is the role of the recruitment consultant. Fair game, however companies underestimate the impact an individual  job description has on a candidate’s buy-in. They want to hear specific examples of successful wins and career progression and understand how that particular role fits into the bigger team .

What is a perfect match?  Consider compromise at the level you are hiring at. When someone resigns many firms automatically chose to recruit at the same level the person leaving is at.  Hiring someone at that same level from an identical background means that the new employee may outgrow the role very quickly and the employer may find themselves recruiting again much sooner than they hope. Consider taking on someone with less experience who can grow into the role, or even someone from a slightly different background who can bring similar skills to the table.  Candidates generally don’t want to move sideways when they change jobs and this may also help in speeding up the recruitment process.  This week, for example, we placed 2 candidates who didn’t come from the media industry into roles that had initially required industry experience. They even both managed to outshine other applicants who did have the industry background. Why were they successful?  Their skills and enthusiasm far outweighed the other 2 applicants in both instances and the client felt, that although they would have initially preferred to have industry experience, they would actually appreciate a new and fresh approach and felt they would gain longer term commitment from these new recruits.

Move fast. Even though experience shows that there’s a high demand for good talent, some recruitment processes are still extremely (and unnecessarily) lengthy, with many clients losing out to their competitors.  We all know that candidates will usually apply to more than one job. If they are in high demand then they will be offered several options very quickly and may decide to apply to these without thinking twice. There have been situations when a client has been slow in setting up interviews or giving feedback on cvs. When they have finally decided to come back on a candidate’s application and requested an interview  ith them, the candidate is already considering other job offers. It’s really important for companies to be quick on the mark and committed to giving feedback quickly in order to keep a high demand candidate interested.

If you want to hire talented people, make sure you manage the process well . If a recruiting manager is going to be away on holiday or on a business trip during the recruitment process, then perhaps you should consider SKYPE or identify someone else who can be involved in the process.  

Pay wisely. The winners are always those who agree to pay and reward sensibly. Look at the market. How long did it take you to find the skills? How many applicants are out there? If we were paid a pound for clients who still offer the same salary ranges as they did 3 years ago we would be millionaires. The cost of living has gone up but salaries have remained stagnant.  If you are bringing in skills and expertise then reward correctly and enough to make sure the person feels valued. Candidates want to start a new job feeling positive about everything and not wishing they had held out for more money.  If you find out that people at the level you want, are looking for a higher pay rate and morethan your budget, then consider compromising and the option of hiring a less experienced person.

Without a shadow of doubt, working with a good recruitment consultant and addressing some of the key issues will definitely improve the search for talent in this competitive market. If jobs are filled quickly, then companies can focus their time on generating income and investing in the development of their key staff.

by Boyce Recruitment on August 10, 2013

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