Recruitment specialist Poolia is advising businesses looking to reduce the impact of mass staff departures predicted by the recent GfK NOP survey to go back to basics and focus on three short-term steps: competitive salary and benefits, flexible working schedules, and a sensible tuition reimbursement plan.

“We are already finding more and more candidates looking to move after sticking with their current employer through the darker days of the credit crunch,” comments Andrew Bath, General Manager of Poolia’s Banking & Financial Sector. “There’s no doubt that there is often an underlying disaffection with the employer – a lack of engagement. But a lot of the basic remuneration criteria are also wrong. Our view is that whilst long term employee engagement programmes are important, right now a more practical and immediate solution is necessary if employers want to stem the tide of departures.”

The GfK NOP survey ( of 4000 employees indicates that as many as 6m Britons may be looking to move jobs over the next 18 months. Whilst on the one hand this creates opportunities for businesses keen to hire, churn causes disruption, increases cost and has a negative impact on staff morale, often creating a domino effect of further leavers.

It is also not certain what kind of a market job seekers will find when they do start the search for a new position, and current research shows a conflicting picture. Whilst the most recent data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation ( shows an increase in employers’ actual and intended recruiting levels over the next 12 months the over-arching picture for the country’s employed as well as unemployed is more bleak, with the TUC reporting that number of unemployed people now exceed job opportunities five to one (

However, the search for talent continues unabated. According to recent figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, despite the reduction in recruitment activity during 2009, and the burgeoning labour market, two thirds (68%) of organisations have experienced recruitment difficulties, due mainly to a lack of necessary specialist skills (67%). As a result, attracting and recruiting key staff is the top resourcing objective for almost 80% of nearly 500 organisations surveyed.

Bath continues, “There is no question that we currently operate in several economies when it comes to employment, especially in critical hiring sectors such as financial services. Despite a large pool of unemployed, those already in a job are always most likely to be front in line for new opportunities. But caution is still required, even for Generation Y employees whose definitions of loyalty, time, and success are often quite different from previous other generations.

“Employers need to realise that there is a turning point in the market and that the fear which has kept many people in the same role over the past two years is starting to wane. They should not assume that replacing talent will be easy.

“We’re still finding that basic and common sense requisites such as a competitive package, flexibility and support for loans are rare to find. We think they should be considered main components to recruitment as well as retention. Alongside is developing long-term relationships through an all-encompassing employee engagement strategy which looks at the total work environment offered to employees.

“This is done by a handful of companies that truly honour and appreciate their employees. Relationships matter now more than ever. If employees are treated thoughtfully, with genuine care, companies will have a much stronger chance of holding on to their vital and precious talent.”