XpertHR, a leading HR and employment law information provider, has uncovered significant challenges for UK businesses in attracting and retaining skilled workers, as revealed in their latest survey.

The study highlights that 44 percent of organisations are finding it difficult to match competitors’ pay and benefits, posing a threat to their ability to secure top talent.

The report identifies poor quality applicants (78%) and skills shortages (77%) as the most pressing hiring issues faced by HR and recruitment professionals over the past year. A staggering 78 percent of businesses cited poor-quality applicants as their primary recruitment obstacle, signalling a need for effective strategies to attract high-caliber candidates.

Despite the current unemployment rate standing at 4.2 percent, employers are grappling with talent acquisition due to a lack of essential skills and experience among candidates. The survey reveals that specialist skills (88%) are the most sought-after, followed by soft skills such as leadership (37%) and management skills (33%).

Training programs have been enhanced

To address the skills gap, 43 percent of organisations have implemented enhanced training programs to upskill both new and existing employees. Furthermore, 58 percent are responding to the talent crunch by offering more appealing pay and benefits to candidates, while 52 percent are providing enhanced pay to retain current employees.

As businesses gear up for a busy recruitment period in Q1, HR, reward, and recruitment professionals must focus on reaching skilled candidates and offering competitive pay and benefits packages. Despite the challenges, a data-driven approach, facilitated by tools like XpertHR pay grading and benchmarking solutions, can help organisations design and optimise pay structures that align with market expectations and business objectives.

Bar Huberman, content manager for HR strategy & practice at XpertHR, emphasises the importance of reassessing reward packages in the face of a competitive talent market:

“Despite challenging economic conditions, many businesses have been able to survive, and even thrive, in recent years. However, this business resilience is down to having the right people with the right skills in the right roles.”

Huberman further advises organisations to leverage benchmarking technology to ensure market competitiveness and attract top talent, emphasising the significance of internal mobility and meaningful training and development to address skills shortages and retain valuable employees.

To access further insights from the survey, visit XpertHR Insights.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.