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  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago
  • Author: Aaron Pepperday

It would be easy to attribute the challenges being faced by many in the current candidate-short market to the effects of COVID-19. Yet with top talent continuing to be in short supply and demand reaching unprecedented levels, what we are witnessing is the impact of decisions taken well before the pandemic was upon us.

The squeeze on training and development – exacerbated by COVID-19 – has created a huge hole in the market. Businesses and organisations are now having to be on the front foot to try and address whilst also ensuring that they have the head count and the quality of employee needed to move forward during what is, for many, a period of recovery, transition or growth.

The creation of lean staffing structures by those for whom survival has been the key priority over the past two years will affect their ability to fully explore every avenue to drive growth and look at potential opportunities. Even those business who are – and have been – buoyant, face a struggle to add to their headcounts as employers double down on efforts to retain their top talent and the motivation for candidates to look for a move are lessened as a result.

To help redress the balance, businesses can look at where they can make meaningful investments at graduate level and in the training, development and upskilling of their current teams. This will ensure that they are in strong positions to promote from within as the flow of movement at higher levels trickles down and creates additional opportunities for progression.

Those organisations who are in the fortunate position to make timely recruitment decisions and have an understanding and appreciation of what the best solution is from within the current candidate pool will be the ones that reap the benefits. Businesses must be mindful of the pace at which the process is moving, accepting that should they wish to go back out into the market after a first round of interviews, their ‘we just want to confirm there is nobody else out there’ choice will more than likely have been snapped up by the time they come to making an offer.

Candidate attraction will continue to be a huge challenge over the coming 12 months. With employers being responsive to addressing the needs of their employees in terms of salary packages, career progression and promotion opportunities alongside adjustments to working patterns and more flexible working arrangements, the need for candidates to look elsewhere in order to achieve what they want is greatly reduced.

With the market unlikely to change significantly in the short to medium term, to stand the greatest chance of success companies will need to play hard to their strengths and carefully consider what the best solutions is to their requirements within the context of what – and who – is available at a particular point in time.

Aaron Pepperday is Regional Director at Sharp Consultancy and focuses upon the recruitment of senior finance and accountancy professionals across the South Yorkshire region; contact Aaron on 0114 261 1700 or