Employers up pay to compete for candidates – REC

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Two fifths (42 per cent) of employers who have had difficulty recruiting candidates have increased the salary on offer, according to a survey of employers by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).


In an attempt to attract candidates after failing with an initial advertisement, 80 per cent of employers re-advertised the role. A quarter (24 per cent) have resorted to lowering the requirements of the role. 


Skills shortages continue to be a major concern amongst employers, with half (49 per cent) stating they expect a shortage of candidates for permanent roles in the next three months. 


Demand for staff prevails, with a third (34 per cent) of employers stating they have no spare capacity and would need to take on new staff if demand increased. A further 46 per cent have just ‘a little’ capacity and might have to take on staff if their workload grew.


The REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers also reveals:


  • One fifth (22 per cent) of employers plan to increase permanent headcount in the short term (the next three months) and medium term (the next four to twelve months).
  • Construction, engineering/technical and health/social care are the three sectors where employers most expect a shortage of candidates for permanent roles.
  • One fifth (19 per cent) of employers plan to increase temporary agency headcount in the medium term, and 12 per cent plan to do so in the short term.  
  • Engineering/technical, hospitality and drivers are the top three sectors where employers expect a shortage of suitable temporary agency workers.


REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“The good news is that while we have record employment, employers have no intention of halting hiring. If you’re ready and willing to move jobs, you could benefit from an increase in pay as many employers are increasing starting salaries to attract candidates with the qualities that they’re looking for.   

“However, throwing money at the problem isn’t a long-term solution for employers, as they compete with each other for the available talent. We need to train people up by embedding employability skills in schools, providing effective careers guidance and promoting apprenticeships. Employers should take responsibility for investing in training – it will help them retain staff and grow their own talent. 

“The short supply of skilled candidates is likely to get worse. Many sectors of the economy are dependent on EU workers. The government has got to design an immigration system which enables businesses to fill the roles they have available and keeps public services up and running. If it becomes harder for EU nationals to work here and employers can’t fill their jobs, they will have little choice but to outsource the work overseas or automate it.”  




Notes to editors:   

1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 or pressoffice@rec.uk.com. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 0207 021 0584.


2. JobsOutlook is produced by the REC in partnership with ComRes. ComRes interviewed 600 employers and owners involved in hiring by telephone between January 4th and March 10th 2017. Data were weighted to be representative of UK adults in employment by region, broad industry sector and public / private sector split. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com


3. For the additional survey question this month, ComRes interviewed 200 employers and owners involved in hiring by telephone between March 1st and March 10th 2017. The question below was asked to the 82 who said they had experienced difficulties recruiting in the last year.


When experiencing difficulties in recruiting, which of the following steps, if any, have you taken to attract candidates? (sample size = 82) 

Increased the wage/salary package
42 per cent
Revised the benefits package
24 per cent
Revised the job description to lower the requirements of the role 
24 per cent
Re-advertised the role
80 per cent
Looked to recruit potential candidates in from other sectors
37 per cent
Targeted candidates from non-traditional backgrounds (e.g. women returning to work, ex-military, ex-offenders)
23 per cent
Targeted candidates in other countries
13 per cent
None of the above
9 per cent

4. The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.6 per cent in December 2016-January 2017, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/feb2017 

5. Jobs transform lives, which is why we are building the best recruitment industry in the world. As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need. We are absolutely passionate and totally committed in this pursuit for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire. Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at www.rec.uk.com

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