UK Senior Executives confident about talent strategies but concerned about turnover rates

Some 96 per cent of UK businesses rate their approach to succession planning highly, and a further 64 per cent say their talent pipeline is either very good or excellent, yet more than two thirds are concerned that their employee turnover rates are too high, according to ‘Challenging Talent’ a new report, supported by quantitative research, by global recruitment partner BPS World.

The in-depth study explored respondents’ biggest hiring challenges, how they rate their engagement strategies and interview processes, their views on the global talent pool, and how they feel about skills gaps in their industry. Respondents were also asked to pinpoint what they see as the biggest hiring challenges for their organisation over the next decade, and they cited strong competition for the best talent, Brexit, and meeting salary expectations as their top three.

Simon Conington, CEO of BPS World commented,

“This research at first appears to show an encouraging confidence from senior executives on the talent flow into and within their businesses.  However, their concerns about skills gaps and high turnover rates challenge this sentiment. Any manager who has these concerns should be reviewing their talent acquisition strategies and their approach to candidate and employee engagement, to ensure they are fit for purpose.”

Respondents were also asked to rate their recruitment processes, and three quarters admitted there was room for improvement. More than a third (35 per cent) said potential candidates would find their interview processes ‘too complicated’, and a further quarter said they’d find them ‘too long’. Another 25 per cent said their interview processes would be viewed as ‘unclear’ by candidates, and more than a fifth (21 per cent) said they’d find them frustrating.  Linked to this, two thirds of respondents said candidates that go through their interview process and get offered a role either often or sometimes turn down the position. 45 per cent of those believe this is likely due to stiff competition for the best talent, and candidates having several offers to choose from, and 36 per cent admitted they find this frustrating. More than a quarter (26 per cent) said they often end up hiring their second choice if their number one candidate turns down the position.

The study also asked respondents whether the intense competition for skills means they deploy a global approach to talent acquisition. Almost a third (31 per cent) said they access talent from anywhere in the world, as their business is set up to work flexibly. Two fifths said they occasionally access talent from outside of the UK, but that they require employees to work from their UK HQ regularly. Almost a fifth (19 per cent) admitted they don’t look globally for talent as they require people to be based with them full time.

Simon Conington concluded,

“Skills gaps and a lack of effective talent are not unique to any industry, and it’s clear that those we surveyed are experiencing challenges associated with finding and retaining the best people. Many were refreshingly honest about where they see room for improvement when it comes to their approach to attracting and hiring people; yet too many are complacent that their strategies are working well, despite the fact that they clearly aren’t. It’s important that senior business leaders take a holistic view of their entire approach to managing talent, particularly in a market where competition for the best people is more intense than ever. Quite simply, getting the right talent and keeping them makes the difference between success and failure for UK businesses.”

If you’re interested in issues talent acquisition and leadership development then take a look at the programme for our leading Talent Management and Leadership Development Summit taking place on the 13th September.


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