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Wages war rages as employers battle for staff

Wages War

There’s a wages war going on across the UK, and it’s affecting the location in which we work as recruiters – Wiltshire, Bristol and the South West.

Why? Because, as has been so widely reported, there is a huge shortage of candidates and there are more than one million vacancies to fill nationally.

This surge in the availability of work is partly due to the pandemic, with sectors such as hospitality opening up again and needing to recruit. For others, like care and lorry driving, there has been a long-term shortage of qualified staff.

Those are the sectors that are getting the bulk of the headlines, but industry and manufacturing are also very short-handed.

This is putting pressure on wages, which we are seeing start to rise. Those businesses which can afford higher wages are attracting staff by offering more money. We heard of one Wiltshire business which lost a number of employees to a competitor who put their wages up by 30%.

Wage rises are, of course, to be welcomed. However, not many businesses can afford wage rises in the 10-30% area without cutting into already tight margins or passing the cost onto the consumer, which then fuels inflation. If prices go up at the same rate that wages rise, then all that has been achieved is a status quo.

Businesses need to use more than just their rate of pay as a hiring and staff retention tool. They need to look at their employees’ wellbeing, their training and personal development and, importantly, pay close attention to their onboarding process.

Wages are just one consideration that people take into account when they decide whether to take a job or to stay with a job. There are many other employee retention strategies that, right now – faced with the labour shortage - businesses could be adopting.


Six ways to improve employee retention

  1. Use a recruitment partner. A hard-working recruitment partner will spend time finding candidates who are a good match for your business, as well as for the vacancy. This will take the pressure off you to appoint for the sake of appointing someone. All too often, this results in failed hires and people leaving almost as soon as they have started.

  2. Have a robust onboarding process, and an induction period, so new recruits are welcomed into the business and feel settled.

  3. Have personal development plans in place for your members of staff, so you understand their career plans and aspirations. Invest in their training and development.

  4. Communicate regularly, and don’t rely simply on an annual appraisal. In this way, you can proactively support your staff.

  5. Put measures in place to nurture employees’ wellbeing, with regards mental health as well as physical health.

  6. Conduct exit interviews. These will shed light on why people leave, and the information may help you make changes that reduce the rate of attrition.

Through carefully recruiting the right people for your team, and by having a robust onboarding and induction process, followed up by ongoing investment in employees, then your people are more likely to stay, even if a competitor offers a big wage rise.

It was the Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, who said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients,” and that has never been more true than it is now.

24-7 Staffing is a leading, independent recruiter, helping clients and candidates find their perfect match across our four specialist sectors: driving, healthcareindustrial and commercial. We work across Chippenham, Salisbury, Bristol, Wiltshire and the South West. To talk to us about recruitment for your business, please get in touch.

Julian Thompson

Published by Julian

9 months ago


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