Why employers should take advantage of the hidden talent pool
Posted on 28th July 2023
There’s a large but hidden talent pool in the UK that could benefit employers. So, why are only half of organisations planning to use this valuable resource?
The latest Open University Business Barometer report confirms what many employers already know – there’s a deep and worsening skills shortage. The report highlights that almost three quarters of organisations are affected. The problem represents one of the biggest challenges facing employers.
However, there aren’t enough initiatives, skills programmes or workplace adjustments to address the problem. Even though employers are facing a shortfall in applications they aren’t actively recruiting from the country’s hidden talent pool.
A challenging recruitment landscape
Staff shortages are affecting employee morale, wellbeing and productivity as the majority of companies report increased workloads. They are also limiting plans for growth, which is a major concern in the current economic climate.
As older members of the workforce plan for retirement the situation is likely to become even more serious. Without specific plans to replace these skills many businesses are facing difficult times ahead.
Almost eight out of 10 businesses say they intend to provide staff training in the coming year. However, many don’t have the expertise and resources to meet their needs. The outcome is likely to be a continuous cycle of recruitment and retention difficulties.
Grow your own talent
Growing people into roles rather than looking for ready-made employees requires a change in outlook for many employers.
The first step is to recognise that attitude and aptitude are the most important attributes for an employee. Skills can be taught, often more quickly than specifying a role, advertising, shortlisting and, hopefully, recruiting experienced candidates.
Many companies now have ‘training buddies’ for new employees. The buddies are already established in their career and can help new, if inexperienced, recruits settle in. Being a buddy also provides a personal development opportunity and allows sharing of important on-the-job skills.
Discovering hidden talents
Employers are also missing opportunities to recruit older people. Many won’t even consider someone in their 50s. However, these candidates might already have had a busy and successful career. Many are looking to downscale; reducing their hours and stress levels, for example, when they have fewer financial pressures. Older employees often have transferable skills and can offer stability to younger team members. As an added bonus they are probably also willing to make a 10- or 15-year commitment.
Parents with young families are often well trained and experienced. However, many can’t afford the cost of childcare to allow them both to work outside the home. Many are well-motivated and skilled, representing a valuable resource for flexible employers. Supporting remote working and flexible hours alongside family and wellbeing resources could attract many high quality recruits.
Many people who aren’t in customer-facing roles find they are more productive when they can choose the best hours and locations to work. They can minimise interruptions and give tasks their undivided attention.
Managers might need to learn new skills when their team members work remotely for some or all of the week. However, the rewards are likely to be very worthwhile.
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