UK businesses turn inwards as the war for talent in UK job market heats up


Recruitment is currently a top three focus for organisations looking to expand. In the UK, over one-third of organisations (38%) see it as a major challenge for their business. In fact, one in ten (11.1%) view recruitment as the biggest people management challenge they face in the coming years. This is not surprising given official figures showing job vacancies have hit over one million – the highest figure since records began.

With a war for talent in progress, many firms are looking inwards to fill roles. Across the UK, nearly two in five (17.4%) are recruiting and promoting more from within as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an average of 47% of vacancies being filled from existing ranks of people.

Organisations are also turning to technology to help them prioritise recruitment. A third (32.1%) state they have invested in a high degree of HR digitalisation for recruitment, and one in 20 (4.7%) now use AI, robots, or digital assistants in the recruitment and selection processes.

When it comes to internal recruitment and skills planning, nearly a third (32.7%) of UK businesses are using digital applications and smart systems to predict which talents are needed in certain departments.  More than one in ten (11.1%) companies are using a personnel planning tool that enables them to plan their workforce and achieve optimal staffing levels and a similar number (15.6%) use a talent management system that keeps track of the skills they have in-house and which skills they are still missing.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead, SD Worx, said: “While businesses have been reinvigorated as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, they are now facing scaling challenges. Hiring drives and talent shortages in the market are putting pressure on HR professionals to fight for the right people in the war for talent.

“We’re seeing that digital HR can be one of the greatest assets in an HR pro’s toolkit to help select, manage and onboard candidates, but many companies are lagging behind, or not exploring valuable opportunities in outsourcing recruitment work. Looking for ways to diversify HR practices and leverage tools and outsourcing will prove vital for recruitment in the coming months and years.”