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The war for talent is only going to get worse: is your employer branding strong enough?

The extent of skills shortages in the UK and indeed globally are well-documented. There’s no denying that companies are increasingly struggling to find the critical skills they need, despite falling vacancies. With green shoots on the horizon for the economy, businesses are understandably focusing on how they can both tackle current resourcing gaps and build talent pools that are sustainable for a fast-growth future. But it’s not going to be easy.

Labour hoarding taking hold across the country

What’s perhaps exacerbating the already limited access to talent is the concept of labour hoarding which seems to sweeping the UK. According to a recent report from specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half, an unusually high level of worker confidence in the current climate is evidence of businesses focusing on retention.

This means that candidate pools are dwindling further as employers pull out all the stops to retain the key talent. In this environment, the ability to stand your employer brand out from the crowd is crucial, particularly when it comes to getting in front of passive candidates.

Out-of-date employer brands a risk

Most – if not all – reputable firms will have an employer brand programme which has been developed and designed to engage with talent pools both externally and internally. However, the question that needs to be asked now is how up-to-date is this?

So much has changed in the world of work in the last few years. Another generation has entered the workforce, work from home or hybrid set-ups have become the norm, talent pools recognise the power they hold more than ever before and the ESG agenda has crept up the list of priorities for certain demographics.

The sheer scale of change that we have seen means that many employer brands no longer speak to audiences in an appropriate way. And, perhaps more importantly, a large number are likely to convey an image of the business that is no longer realistic.

Auditing employer brands now is going to be critical to ensure they deliver real value during the bounce back period. It is important to ensure that you are facilitating a two-way dialogue with staff during this process so that any actions are truly aligned with the current values and culture within your business.

Revamp your content and communications channels

Of course, it’s not just a case of getting your messaging right. Disseminating this through the best channels is also key. Careers pages are a valuable landing point for talent, but which platforms will drive people there?

There’s a real plethora of channels to reach talent pools today. The expansion of social media has given us a seemingly endless supply of different platforms to communicate with critical audiences on. But that doesn’t mean that every channel will work.

Consider who your audience is. It’s unlikely that a senior leader is going to be looking for their next opportunity through TikTok. A graduate fresh out of education, however, might.

It is impossible to be all things, to everyone, in one go. Identify your core demographics and then create a communications campaign around these personas.

Retain your shining stars

We can’t, however, ignore the fact that labour hoarding is happening, which means that businesses also need to consider how their approach to employee value propositions can help retain high performers. Facilitating that two-way dialogue that I mentioned earlier during an EVP audit will help current staff feel listened to, heard, and connected to the businesses. But there are other ways to boost retention levels with your PR and content.

A prime example lies in communicating opportunities for staff to move across functions within the company. It’s increasingly common to see people of any age and experience considering new career paths in new remits. If there are staff within the business who have expressed an interest in doing this, or indeed already have, then it’s important that this message is shared far and wide.

Invest in your employer brand today to remain competitive tomorrow

An uncertain economy naturally leads to less focus on building employer branding, after all, when there are fewer vacancies, why would firms need to invest in finding more talent? That may have been the case several years ago, however the environment we’re in today is completely different.

The labour market is being continuously squeezed. Even with fewer jobs, skills shortages remain rife and the war for talent is stubbornly hanging around. Firms that don’t have a strong presence as an employer of choice will not only struggle now, but also at the critical moment when the market finally turns.

Want to find out more about our content and communications solutions for in-house hiring teams? Contact us today!

VickieAuthor: Vickie Collinge

Over the last 15 years Vickie has worked with many talent acquisition teams and recruitment agencies to raise their profile across their specialist areas.

Vickie is an expert in demonstrating her clients’ thought leadership and showing them how to use it. She can turn a short conversation with you into gold.


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