What do puppies, massages and climbing walls all have in common? Give up? They’re all ways in which companies are trying to lure top talent to work for them. Yes, having dogs running around the office sounds a little unorthodox, and trying to discuss an issue with colleagues while they’re dangling from a rope six feet in the air sounds downright annoying, but organisations are doing all they can to stand out from the crowd when it comes to recruitment. One of the reasons for this is that wages are expected to increase in the UK by around £20 per week in 2019, and employers are trying to find less costly ways to attract staff.
This is especially true in the technology sector where there is high demand and low supply. So what can employers do? Bite the bullet and offer higher wages? Recruit less experienced staff and train them? Or offer unique, even outlandish, benefits?
The important thing to consider when you’re hiring new staff is how meaningful the perks you’re offering actually are to potential employees. While the idea of being able to grab a massage at work might look pretty cool in your job ad, experts in technology recruitment found that “hipster” benefits had little impact on either the speed it took to fill roles, or the quality of the candidates that applied for them.
Research showed that instead more traditional benefits such as leave, health insurance, career development, and financial incentives were still more highly valued than any amount of quirky perks. That all-important work-life balance also featured highly as factors such as flexible hours and the ability to work remotely, as well as leave for caregivers or parents, are also highly prized by those seeking work in the IT industry.
But while you may be offering the greatest package to new recruits, when it comes to technology recruitment, the real issue is the skills shortage in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) area. There simply aren’t enough people to fill the jobs created by the UK’s burgeoning tech sector and the increasing automation of once-traditional job roles. There’s no solution in sight either thanks to 142,000 new STEM jobs being anticipated by 2023 and the number of students enrolling in university to study these subjects being a lot lower.
So what does this mean for companies who are struggling to fill crucial roles while wages are continuing to rise? Potentially it means chaos as they struggle to find talented employees that will help them maintain a competitive edge. And while the impact of Brexit is not yet certain, many businesses fear the problem will only be exacerbated as talented employees either leave the UK, or are deterred from coming here in the first place.
What is clear is that employers of all sizes should take steps to plug the gaps sooner rather than later by looking to retrain and retain older staff while recruiting talented people that can help them stabilise and grow their business in the uncertain, and more costly, months, years and possibly decades ahead.