How to strike the right talent balance



The hiring balance has shifted with good candidates holding more cards than ever before. From flexible working to career development – the competition for attracting talent is tough. HR teams across the UK are facing some of the biggest recruitment challenges with record job vacancies, rapid acceleration of new skills and changing needs from new hires are making attracting and retaining talent tougher than ever before.

Job vacancies at an all-time high

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of vacancies topped one million during June-August 2021 which is a third higher than pre-pandemic levels and all sectors are up compared to February 2020. This has led to an increase in job vacancies which means it can be difficult for companies to stand out to candidates – furthering the shortage.

Demographic Change

The changing makeup of the workforce during and after the pandemic, combined with Brexit has compounded to a shrinking workforce.

There are 273,000 fewer 16-24 year olds working since quarter one 2020. These workers typically take on variable demand, typically short-shifts and seasonal work which is going to impact the hospitality and retail sectors the hardest.

Whilst furlough has ended, the over 50’s –  of which there was over half a million on the scheme, are looking at alternatives to returning to work with many taking retirement at the end of September. This could mean a large experience gap which may affect productivity in the business.  

Brexit has brought about demographic changes in the workforce, with 208,000 fewer non-UK nationals and as almost as many as one in ten EU nationals which is affecting highly skilled to medium skilled jobs the most.

Rise of Automation & changing skills

In a recent survey by the World Economic Forum 7% of UK jobs were no longer required as a result of automation. Workforces are shifting toward increased automation which is changing what jobs people do with machines taking a higher share of information and data processing, administrative tasks and some aspects of manual labour.  This means that there will be different skills needed such as managing, advising, decision making, and interacting are going to come to forefront as we move to 2025.

While it could spell a reduction in the workforce in some industries, in others it may present an opportunity to upskill existing employees or create new positions.

Furthermore, soft skills such as critical thinking, reasoning and emotional intelligence will be much higher on the training agenda due to the increase in automation.


UK businesses are facing a talent crisis in terms of higher vacancies, fewer workers and changing skills mix, with longer term implications of HR strategy.


Access People are an exhibitor on the HRTech247 HCM Full Platform floor. You can visit their HRTech247 exhibition stand here.