Retaining talent, re-skilling the talent pool

by | Sep 4, 2020 | News

When you remove demand in the market for your products and services it becomes hard to plan for the future and we are seeing this impact on recruitment plans, with many currently on hold.

A recent survey by Keep Britain Working and Reed shows that people management is a top concern for many in business. When thinking about the future of their business, 36% stated they were either planning to or are currently seeking help with ‘HR / people management’ (the top response). This is no surprise when you consider that two-thirds of businesses have furloughed workers (using the job retention scheme which comes to an end October 31st) and one in three (35%) stating that ‘retaining employees’ is a top challenge they are facing.

Has your business taken any of these actions since the government imposed restrictions on 16th March? (please tick all that apply)Responses
Started working from home for some / all employees82%
Furloughed employees63%
Flexible working hours / reduced hours / unpaid leave46%
Closed the business premises37%
Built out IT infrastructure to support remote working30%
Investigated in new customers / markets21%
Looked into digitalisation, e.g. online shop, website development14%
Emergency financing12%
Put all business operations on hold2%
Survey: Getting Britain Back to Work, August 2020, sample: 57

There is no doubt that trading conditions have placed more scrutiny on business activities and recruitment will be one area where cost efficiencies will be sought, 60% of those surveyed said that their route to hire would change as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

Even so, attracting top talent will be more important than ever. Nevertheless, hilst looking for talent, businesses should be encouraged to consider those that are looking to switch paths, perhaps due to the impact of Covid on their previous industry. It may be that they have many transferable skills and are able to bring new innovative ways of thinking as a result of their experience in a different industry.

It is encouraging that 62% of those surveyed would consider hiring a Candidate who lacked the precise skills or experience required for the role if it could be made up through training. But whilst there are those willing to extend opportunities to those that will need some degree of training, 23% said that for them skills and experience are more important now compared to before March.

It is true that business pressures mean that employers will want workers who can hit the ground running but with many online training platforms and routes to learn, businesses should be encouraged to invest in potential. 40% of those surveyed said tax breaks or other financial incentives would encourage them to look at re-skilling candidates; whilst it’s true that some training is already tax deductible, there’s still an argument for a broader program of financially incentivised re-skilling.

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