Snapshot into the current market
The labour market in the United Kingdom is currently in a good state. The unemployment rate is at a 40 year low of 3.6% (Office of National Statistics) and there are more people in work than ever before. The employment rate is at a record high of 75.4%.
There are plenty of jobs available in the UK at the moment. In fact, there are more vacancies than there are unemployed people. This is good news for job seekers as it means that there is a lot of choice when it comes to finding a role. Not so good for those of us looking to hire new talent, however.
The Great Resignation
“The Great Resignation” is a term used to describe the high level of resignations across multiple sectors from jobs in the United Kingdom (hence, the influx of available vacancies right now). In fact, this is affecting the whole world too, especially the US.
The most common reasons for resignation are poor working environments, low pay, lack of career progression and little or no flexibility with remote and hybrid working. After an extended period of working from home with no commute, many people have decided their work-life balance has become more important to them. To put this into perspective, PwC’s 2022 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey revealed that up to one in five workers globally are looking to quit this year.
This can be a major problem for employers, as it can lead to a loss of skilled workers and a drop in productivity.
How are companies responding?
According to the CIPD (Labour Market Outlook 2022), the top response planned by employers to recruitment and retention difficulties is to upskill existing staff (41%), followed by advertising more jobs as being flexible (35%). Raising wages comes in third at 29%.
What can we do?
It’s not rocket science that if you focus efforts on keeping your employees happy, they are more likely to stay. A strong retention strategy can help to ensure that your most talented and valued employees remain with your company, which can help to improve morale and productivity.
But how? To know what your people want, you need to ask them. Whether that's informally, during a regular 1:1 or in an anonymous survey. We need to focus on everything from how they feel about the leadership team, their manager and progression opportunities, to the diversity throughout the company, values and benefits.
One of the key metrics to track how successful your retention strategy is through your average employee tenure.
Employer brand & candidate attraction
According to LinkedIn, 75% of employees research a company before they even send their application. They consider brand values, company culture, reviews from previous employees, and the company's media image before accepting a position.
Usually the search will start on the company careers site before delving deeper into more independent sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and social channels like Instagram.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the careers site...
Why do you need a careers site?
In today’s job market, it’s more important than ever for companies to have a dedicated careers section on their website. Here’s why:
1. It’s a great way to attract top talent - A well-designed careers page will showcase your company in the best light and make it more attractive to top talent. This is especially important if you’re looking to attract millennials, who place a high value on company culture.
2. It shows that you’re invested in your employees - A dedicated careers page shows that you’re committed to your employees and their career development. This is a major selling point for potential hires, who want to work for a company that will invest in them.
3. It can help you improve your retention rates - Happy employees are more likely to stick around. By creating a dedicated space for your employees to learn about advancement opportunities, you’re making it more likely that they’ll stay with your company for the long haul.
4. It can help you save money on recruiting costs - A strong careers page can help you attract and hire employees without having to spend as much on recruiting costs. This is because you’ll be able to target your recruitment efforts and reach a larger pool of qualified candidates.
5. It can improve your employer brand - A dedicated careers page can help improve your employer brand and make your company more attractive to potential employees. This is because it allows you to share your company’s story.
6. Help in a competitive market - A careers section can help a company to stand out from the competition, which there is a lot of right now. Highly qualified people are contemplating your company over your competitors.
Top considerations for your careers site
Company values including your approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations.
With the ever-growing focus on social justice and workplace diversity, potential employees want to know that they will be valued and included in your company. By being upfront about your company's stance on these important issues, you will attract candidates that align with your values and who will help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
This doesn’t only include sharing your stance on diversity and your policies around hiring, but actually demonstrating it on the company website with your assets and the language used.
Your company culture or “life at our company”
In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to set yourself apart from the competition. Talking about your company culture on your careers page is a great way to do that.
When you talk about your company culture, you’re sending the message that you’re an employer of choice. This is the kind of employer that talented and highly qualified candidates want to work for.
The ability to work in a progressive environment, within a growing company are fantastic and should be shared but what we're talking about here are actual, tangible benefits.
The wider package on offer is becoming increasingly important in candidates' decisions on joining a new company. From holiday allowance, healthcare and equity to flexible working and volunteer days.
Transparency and setting expectations
Transparency in the interview process has a number of benefits for both companies and candidates. For companies, it levels the playing field for all candidates and can help to identify unconscious bias. For candidates, it creates a better experience by allowing them to prepare better for interviews and understand the expectations of the role.
A great example of an organisation that does this well is HotJar - https://www.hotjar.com/careers/
There are several reasons why companies should set and share interview process KPIs with applicants. For example, how long you can expect to wait between each interview and how many people you’re meeting. For one, it builds trust and creates a better candidate experience. Candidates who know what to expect and feel like they are being treated fairly are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome.
A recent survey (Reed) found 78% of job seekers would be put off applying for a job if a salary range wasn’t listed with 22% said they only applied for roles listing pay. Despite this, the vast majority of job postings do not mention pay.
Available opportunities with the ability to filter across locations and departments
People will not apply for opportunities if they cannot find them. They are also more likely to drop out of the process if there is a poor user experience. Potential employees should be able to easily give their preferences and be presented with a list of suitable roles.
If there are none, it is much better to offer a speculative application than nothing at all.
Inspirational stories from current employees
Candidates are always looking for companies that have a positive and inspiring culture, and stories from current employees are a great way to showcase that.
This type of ‘social selling’ or ‘peer to peer communication’ which is typically used in sales can help potential candidates visualise themselves in your company by resonating or being excited by the stories for your existing employees.
Workplace policy - flexible? Hybrid? Office based?
As we covered earlier on in this article, flexibility and hybrid working are one of the biggest driving forces behind employees leaving their current roles.
With that in mind, it’s so important to share where you stand on workplace policy. Many employees will simply not apply to a position if there is no visibility on your flexibility.
This doesn’t mean every company now has to offer flexibility; there are candidates in the market looking exclusively for roles in an office, particularly those in entry or mid-level positions. It’s about ensuring you attract the right candidates.
People want to work for companies they are proud of. The same way a substandard website would put off a potential customer, it will put off a candidate.
Top mistakes to avoid
A unnecessarily lengthy application process
Imagine for a second, a prospective candidate has decided to enter the job market or they have been approached by your talent acquisition team and head to your careers site to make an application. They are then presented with a form that, despite uploading their CV and adding their LinkedIn profile, requires them to manually add their entire work and education history alongside a number of additional questions for them to answer.
Even the most motivated candidates are put off and we risk missing out on great talent.
No Applicant Tracking System (ATS) integration
There are so many reasons to have a strong ATS in place. From a candidate’s perspective, it helps with consistent communication whether that’s letting someone know they’ve not been shortlisted (which is common courtesy and should never be missed), to easily scheduling interviews and checking application progress.
From an internal perspective, your ATS should be your Talent Acquisition team's daily tool, because it facilitates everything from reviewing and tracking CVs, task automations like job ad deployment to moving candidates along the process, analysing recruitment data, sharing candidate information with hiring managers, creating talent pipelines and searching for specific skills.
My personal favourites are Greenhouse and Workable.
Who is doing it well
What I love about it: Their whole tone and language. Granted, EA are a gaming company so naturally they are able to use a more fun, playful tone on their careers site but let’s not forget they are a huge global enterprise company with internal policies and sign off processes so this isn’t always easy. They articulate their interview process, remote / onsite policy and everything they offer as benefits. They are also very clear about their approach to Diversity & Inclusion and are transparent about their current company-wide representation which includes gender, race and pay.
What I love about it: Like most things, Apple has absolutely nailed their careers website. They’ve covered everything: it looks beautiful, it reinforces their culture and values through testimonials and clearly displays the different lines of business.
What I love about it: They have an admirable focus on inclusivity and culture.