Do UK businesses have a recruitment problem?

This summer, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable repeated research claims that concluded British businesses are struggling when it comes to “recruiting the skilled labour they need.”

His claims are corroborated by trade bodies such as REC: CEO Kevin Green has iterated, countless times, the financial damage this gap causes the economy.

It often falls to professional recruitment agencies to make up the deficit, find the most suitable, not to mention most aptly trained candidates, and provide them for their clients.

However, are UK companies actually struggling to recruit the talent they need or is the employment industry making a mountain out of a molehill?

Independent research, conducted by Lloyds in June, concludes that over 50% of companies are struggling to recruit – the highest number for the past decade and up 20% from January.

Despite this, Lloyds concluded that “companies were the most positive about overall business prospects since the EU referendum result.”

Separate research found that businesses in many sectors – including the service sector and the manufacturing sector – are still planning huge recruitment drives.

This positivity indicates, at the very least, that British business still have a need for labour coupled with the belief they can find the right hire.

Furthermore, rising income for some UK recruitment giants such as Robert Half, shows that their specialist services are still being utilised by UK firms. A demonstration that firms are still recruiting and the right candidate is still being sought.

Whilst this shows that UK recruiters are still being used by hiring clients it does not show that the recruits being chosen are the right hire.

In times of scarcity, firms might be making stop-gap hires or hiring candidates who don’t have the complete set of desired skills.

The REC believes this to be the case. According to their research, two out of five successful candidates are the ‘wrong hire’.

Green concluded: “Our calculations show that UK businesses are wasting billions every year because of the volume of hiring mistakes being made.”

If this is the case, it might just be the UK businesses do have a hiring problem.

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