The skills shortage that’s affecting businesses’ ability to fill key roles has been well-documented. However, according to new research from Upwork, the online talent marketplace, the problems are being compounded by adhering to traditional hiring methods that are all but obsolete in the digital age.
Out of the 1,000 hiring decision-makers surveyed by Upwork – including 728 from SMEs – 88% described the way they recruit as slow, restrictive and inefficient. The study found that 37% of businesses still advertise in newspapers and magazines to find new talent, with only 31% posting online job adverts, 25% advertising on LinkedIn and 19% using social media channels. The research went on to reveal that, on average, it takes UK businesses over a month to find and hire new talent, with one in seven companies taking more than two months.
Something that’s not often considered is the impact that recruitment difficulties can have on existing staff. Well, it’s safe to say Upwork’s research has blown the lid off this; 82% of the businesses surveyed admitted that overall business productivity suffered as a result of slow hiring times. A further 40% of respondents said that office morale deteriorates when then are talent shortages, while 17% admitted to losing clients or projects as a result.
Another factor that appears to be hindering companies’ ability to address a lack of talent is their reluctance to look further afield for new hires. While almost two thirds of businesses identified their geographical location as an obstacle to finding the right talent, 78% said they restrict their search to their immediate local area, with only 4% looking beyond the UK for new recruits.
“The current way in which businesses find new talent is broken – it’s inefficient and often ineffective,” said Hayley Conick, country manager at Upwork. “It’s particularly worrying to learn that UK businesses are being prevented from growing both in terms of winning new work as well as losing existing clients as a result of inefficient processes for finding talent.”
“Today, businesses have access to a global pool of talent at the click of a button. However, when only 4% of businesses are looking beyond UK borders, is it any wonder we’re falling behind?”
It seems many businesses are struggling to keep pace with the rate of technological change in an increasingly globalised world. It’s time to catch up.