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Is NOW the right time for SMEs to recruit?

To hire or not to hire? That is the BIG question for many SMEs right now. As we enter the final quarter of the year and businesses return to their “new normal” you might be wondering whether now is the right time to recruit new team members, and if so, what’s the best way to go about it. 

Here are some of the trends* we’re seeing across the UK:  

  • Three-fifths (60.8%) of organisations taking part in a survey* expect to recruit more permanent employees in 2021 than they did in 2020
  • The biggest challenge when recruiting is skills shortage. Notably for engineering roles (at 34.3%), IT specialists (29.9%) and manual roles (17.9%)
  • The majority of organisations in the survey (95.2%) are currently taking specific actions to boost diversity and inclusion in candidate-attraction and selection processes, or plan to do so in the next 12 months

Time to hire

It’s important to plan ahead if you’re thinking about recruiting a new team member. The recruitment process is likely to take an average of 8 weeks for a Director, 6 weeks for a Manager and four weeks for general office staff. Then you must factor in working their notice period – which for very senior people can be up to 6 months. 

Recruitment should be part of your overall business strategy and based upon your SME reaching milestones such as revenue, number of new clients and launching new services. As such, it should be something you plan at the start of your financial year. 

Other changes to the recruitment industry post-pandemic 

Covid has changed the way in which businesses recruit staff, and many of these practices are set to remain. These include video interviewing, online onboarding, and the introduction of HR software to manage recruitment processes such as induction. 

Adapting your recruitment process to include some of these can save time and reduce costs, but they need to be carried out effectively.  

Ask about our training to help you conduct your interviews and onboarding online so you feel more confident and comfortable with this process. 

Our recruitment recommendations: 

  • Be prepared to widen your search to attract people with the right skills. For example,  if you’ve changed your working practices due to the pandemic (such as homeworking), you’ll have access to a wider pool of talent that isn’t limited to your geographic location. 
  • Consider how you are attracting the right talent to your organisation, through incentives, promoting your company culture and becoming the employer of choice. 
  • Use mix of candidate-attraction channels to reach a broad and diverse audience.
  • Plan ahead with recruitment – you never know how long it’s going to take you to find the right people. 

We partner with NMS recruitment to source the right talent for many of our clients. If you would like us to help you create a great job description and help your organisation to become an ‘employer of choice’ – please contact us.

* Source ExpertHR June/July 2021

Useable responses were received from 134 organisations with a combined workforce of 249,613 employees.

By economic sector:

•                89 (66.4%) are in private-sector services;

•                27 (20.1%) are in manufacturing and production; and

•                18 (13.4%) are in the public sector.

Broken down by workforce size, the organisations for which respondents work comprise:

•                67 (50%) with between one and 249 employees;

•                42 (31.3%) employing between 250 and 999; and

•                25 (18.7%) with 1,000 or more employees.

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