A recent survey by XpertHR has unveiled the challenges faced by UK businesses in attracting and retaining skilled workers, as 44 percent struggle to match competitors’ pay and benefits.

The fight for skilled talent intensifies, with poor quality applicants (78%) and skills shortages (77%) identified as the top hiring issues over the past year.

Despite a 4.2 percent unemployment rate, businesses are grappling with talent acquisition due to a lack of necessary skills and experience among candidates, putting their resilience at risk.

Specialist skills, both unique to organisations and specific to individual roles, topped the list of skills in demand (88%). Additionally, soft skills such as leadership (37%) and management skills (33%) prove challenging to source.

To address these challenges, 43 percent of businesses are offering enhanced training programs, while 58 percent are improving pay and benefits to attract candidates. In an effort to retain current employees, 52 percent are providing enhanced pay.

Competitive pay and benefits

As HR, reward, and recruitment professionals gear up for the busiest recruitment period in Q1, organisations must focus on reaching skilled candidates and offering competitive pay and benefits. With tools like XpertHR pay grading and benchmarking solutions, businesses can design pay structures that align with market expectations and remain competitive without exceeding their budgets.

Bar Huberman, content manager, HR strategy & practice at XpertHR, emphasises the importance of reassessing reward packages and leveraging benchmarking technology to ensure market competitiveness. “Now is the time to reassess reward packages and leverage benchmarking technology to ensure market competitiveness through packages that attract top talent and promote employee satisfaction,” said Huberman.

Despite the economic challenges, businesses can enhance their resilience by focusing on internal mobility and meaningful training and development to engage and retain current employees.

Key Takeaways:

  • Only 19 percent of businesses rated their ability to source quality hires as very effective in the last 12 months.
  • In private sector services, 92 percent struggled to recruit for specialist skills, almost 10 percent higher than in the public sector (83%).
  • To improve employee retention, 67 percent of organisations are focusing on improving their pay, reward, and recognition.

For further insights on this survey, visit here.





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.