What are the issues in Recruitment right now?
The impact of Covid-19 has created new and deepened existing issues and problems when companies are recruiting. Here we explore a few of those topics.
Diversity and Inclusion
Not only one of the biggest issues for recruitment, but for society in general. Reports suggest that job losses have had the biggest impact on women and BAME individuals. This places an added burden on groups of people who have historically been disadvantaged.
One way to correct this and build teams that are more reflective of society, companies can implement ‘blind’ recruitment processes. Essentially this removes all possible traces of candidates’ gender, ethnicity, age etc. This includes candidates name, address, year they completed their education and so on. Deloitte have gone so far as to remove the name of the school or university. This is all to protect against unconscious bias, which is when a hiring manager makes a decision regarding an application based on factors that they may not wholly be aware of.
A report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission show that Unconscious Bias Training, whilst effective in putting a tick in a box, is sometimes not challenging enough with results being mixed.
To effect a real change, companies need to embark on behaviour change in their teams. This is a long term commitment to break the cycle of appointing candidates that mirror characteristics and traits of the existing employees.
On the plus side, some 85% of companies polled believe diversity is an important issue, yet 46% do not know what to do to create a recruitment procedure that enhances diversity.
This is not a new issue. Recruiting practices have always adapted and changed as technology has become more sophisticated. Imagine the scenes when this new-fangled contraption called a computer replaced the Filofax!
It is important to keep in mind the difference between Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Technology has been crucial during the pandemic for a host of reasons, including virtual interviews and online inductions. Even identify verification can be completed online.
Recently there seems to be a level of fever pitch about AI replacing the need for humans to interact and screen applications. Whilst there have been improvements in AI systems, a complete and flawless application is still in development.
A key consideration for a successful AI system is to guard against biases that are ‘baked in’ which can reject candidates that do not fit into an existing structure. For example, if a system is built to short list candidates based on the profiles of existing members of a team, then anyone that does not fall into those categories will be rejected. Thus, creating a cycle of ‘same as same as’ appointments which has a detrimental effect on inclusion, diversity creativity and innovation.
Despite employer expectations that there will be an abundance of potential candidates for all vacancies, the reality is quite different.
Pre-pandemic conditions saw historic high levels of employment and an extremely ‘tight’ employment market. Whilst overall employment figures have fallen, data shows that it has not been ‘across the board’. Job cuts have come in areas that have a lower threshold to entry such as hospitality, retail, entry level administration and graduate recruitment.
Skilled employees are now, possibly more than ever, being recognised and rewarded in order to be retained by their existing employer.
Added to this is the fact that when candidates need to have a sense of security when joining a new company. As the last 12 months has told us, you can’t predict the future. Someone who has been in employed for five years will have statutory rights that will take at least 12 months to obtain in new employment which instils a ‘better the devil you know’ mindset.
UK Immigration rules have undergone huge transformations that may well have gone ‘under the radar’.
Freedom of movement of individuals from the European Union (EU) ended on 31st December 2020. Anyone who is an EU national who resided in the UK before that date can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme which if successful guarantees their Right to Work. This must be submitted by 30th June 2021. In place of freedom of movement will come a points based system. Other Employment Law issues will also be impacted.
The number of EU nationals working in the UK continued to increase to a total of 2.31 million in 2019. These individuals have provided crucial services in difficult to fill roles and provided a welcome resource to employers.
Much like all things at the moment, the impact of Brexit on recruitment in the UK is anyone’s guess!
Whilst this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all issues facing recruitment, it is an overview of some of the challenges faced by employers and anyone working in the industry.