58 percent already say that the lack of skilled or qualified workers is their biggest challenge

The majority of UK recruiters (86%) expect that the job market will stay as competitive, or become even more challenging, in the next twelve months, according to recruiting platform Jobvite.

This is while 58 percent already say that the lack of skilled or qualified workers is their biggest challenge when it comes to hiring quality talent.

It’s a case of supply and demand—with a diminishing talent pool becoming more demanding! 40 percent of recruiters cite working from home, or flexible working, as a way of swaying candidate choices, followed by employer matched defined contribution pension plans (36%), free transportation/ parking (30%), a casual dress code (30%), free snacks (22%), and open floor office design (22%).

These findings are revealed in Jobvite’s first ever UK Social Recruitment Survey, conducted by independent research firm RedShift Research. This survey, which has been undertaken and published in the US for the past eight years as the Social Recruiting Survey, garnered the opinions of 500 UK-based recruiters and HR professionals across several industries. It examined employers’ strategies with regards to winning the war for talent and explored the UK recruitment market’s relationship with social recruiting.

Recruiting is Getting Tougher

Recruiters are being squeezed from both sides—between candidate demands on one hand and recruitment rising higher up the boardroom agenda on the other. UK companies and their executive teams have come to expect high levels of performance from recruiters. 68 percent of recruiters can onboard a candidate in 11-60 days, but 49 percent are experiencing increased pressure to hire the right candidates faster. This pressure is largely driven by senior management (67%), lines of business managers (39%) and the board (20%)— supporting the belief that more than ever, the right talent is a key building block for successful businesses today.

Pressures are not matched by investment

Despite increased pressure to hire better and faster, investment in technologies that can expedite recruiting and ensure that better talent is found and hired faster is very low. 60 percent of UK recruiters spend less than £1,000 a year on career sites, mobile career websites, social media recruiting, job boards, and Applicant Tracking Systems. But, at least a fifth of the market (21%) still spends between £5,000-15000 a year on outside recruitment agencies—a backwards step when you consider that the highest quality candidates are sourced from employee referrals (22%), direct applications (19%), and social and professional networks (14%).

“Increased competition and a widening skills gap are driving recruiters to find new ways of engaging with talent,” said Dan Finnigan, CEO at Jobvite. “It’s clear that the UK recruiting industry is moving towards a more dynamic and exciting way to attract, identify, and onboard talent. Many organisations are starting to realise the importance of investing in their own employer brand instead of relying so heavily on outside recruiting agencies, as was standard in the past.”

Social recruiting is the new frontier

The latest official figures by the Office of National Statistics show faltering employment growth, with unemployment rising. This may reflect the fact that recruiters are actually facing greater hiring difficulties because of a countrywide skills shortages. A shrinking skills pool means that recruiters will need to find new ways of casting their nets wider to find the best and brightest candidates.

Social recruiting is the next frontier. 92 percent of recruiters in the US are using social media to enhance their candidate identification capabilities. In contrast, the opportunity isn’t being as widely exploited in the UK, where just 40 percent of recruiters are busy on social. But this is about to change, with one third (33%) of all recruiters planning to increase investment in social recruiting in the next 12 months. Indeed, over a quarter (27%) of recruiters have found social or professional networks to be the most effective means through which to grow their employer brands, and that number is expected to rise quickly.

Finnigan goes on to say that, “Recruiters are also rapidly becoming aware of the power of social recruiting in their quest for the highest quality candidates. Jobvite, which has helped companies such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Gamesys to strengthen their talent pipelines and candidate engagement, is poised to help companies in Western Europe find the talent needed to fuel their growth and achieve their business objectives.”

Further key findings from the 2015 UK Social Recruitment Survey

  • Perks do the talking when it comes to talent attraction
    • With the UK’s new Flexible Working Policy in place, the most desired benefit from a candidate perspective is working from home/flexible working (40%)

    • This is followed by employer matched defined contribution pension plans (36%), free transportation/parking (30%), and a casual dress code (30%)

  • Great talent is hard to find, so recruiters are looking elsewhere

    • UK recruiters are increasingly competing within a limited pool of highly skilled and qualified candidates. This explains why 46 percent of those not using social media today are considering, or have already started, planning their strategy for the next 12 months

    • Of the 40% of recruiters in the UK using social media for candidate identification today, 75% turn to Facebook, 57% to Twitter, and 38 percent to LinkedIn or search

    • US based recruiters on the other hand turn to LinkedIn (87%), Facebook (55%), Twitter (47%), and Glassdoor (38%)

  • There are real social media do’s and don’ts

    • Social channels are a goldmine of information for recruiters. When looking at a candidate’s profile, they focus on the length of average job tenure (57%), length of tenure with current employer, commitment to professional organisations (42%), and mutual connections (29%)

    • But it also requires candidates to think smart. Things that are most frowned upon include references to marijuana use (65%), spelling/grammar errors in posts/tweets (54%), and pictures of the consumption of alcohol (46%)

    • Candidates should also think twice before posting selfies. 34 percent of recruiters view these snaps in a negative light

    • There’s good news for candidates also; 61% of recruiters would be more or much more likely to reconsider a hiring decision based on the positive content on a candidate’s social media profiles