Almost half of British business leaders fear losing the UK’s best talent abroad as talent shortages create challenges for employers and recruiters alike around the world.

Workplace change management specialist MovePlan partnered with global headhunter Hanson on a new Future of the Workplace survey of 1,191 business leaders and their employees. It found that 40% of business leaders are concerned that a combination of Brexit and post-pandemic talent challenges will make it harder to find and keep their talent; and 29% of those at mid- and junior-level felt pessimistic about the UK’s chances to compete for the best talent and attract global businesses post Brexit.

Talent shortages are making it more difficult for recruiters to meet client demands. The latest quarterly Global Talent Recruitment and Staffing Industry Report from JobAdder analysed data trends across its agency users in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. It found that the average time to make a contract placement was 12.3 days in Q2 of 2021, while placing permanent staff took an average of 33.7 days during the same period.

Rob Earles, Head of Agency Sales at JobAdder recently observed that, while the UK is having to address skills gaps that were waiting in the wings before the pandemic, border closures and increased demand for talent has brought the issue of lack of qualified talent to the fore.

“Against this backdrop, agency recruiters must respond by keeping close to clients so that quality job orders can be secured,” said Earles. “They should also direct resources into and look to build more efficient, empathetic candidate communications processes, focusing on developing their internal skill sets. This approach is the only way to stay nimble in the face of an evolving hiring landscape that will be with us for some time to come”.

The UK’s post-Brexit immigration policies and drastic changes to the skilled worker visa programme are making it more difficult to access talent in UK and from abroad.

“I struggle to see how the UK will cope with the worst staffing shortages since 1997 when employers will be forced to hire in person due to Home Office right to work check rules,” said Keith Rosser, Reed’s Director Group Risk and Chair of the Better Hiring Institute, who hosted an online event with over 50 major employers on 12th August to champion the extension of digital right to work checks.

The Home Office announced in June that employers could continue to verify right to work in video calls with job applicants and existing workers, and accept scanned documents or a photo of documents. This was extended until 31st August but the Home Office has since announced that penalties of up to £20,000 will be imposed for anyone avoiding manual checks from 1stSeptember.

“My concern is that our industry may not be seeing what’s coming – a candidate led market,” said Josh Rayner, CEO of estate agency recruiter Rayner Personnel. “This is further illustrated by the number of available workers plunged in June to the lowest levels since 1997, job vacancies in the three months to June rose by 241,000 to 862,000 – the biggest quarterly increase since records began in 2001 – and 1.3 million non-UK workers have left the country due to the pandemic.”

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