No matter where you work in the UK, you can’t escape overwhelming skills shortages. We’re currently experiencing the highest levels of skills shortages since records began.

Finance firms, in particular, are feeling the pressure. Across the UK today, there are more than five vacancies for every 100 jobs within the sector.

There’s no single cause for the skills shortages we’re seeing. Instead, we’re in the middle of a perfect storm.

Brexit and the loss of EU workers have led to a shortage of qualified staff to fill many essential roles. The COVID pandemic then exacerbated this situation, as many employees reassessed their work-life balance, considered re-training, and adjusted their expectations of work.

This, in turn, fuelled the Great Resignation. Vast swathes of experienced staff are preparing to move on to new jobs, creating an incredibly challenging recruitment environment. 

Finance firms are also looking for different skills. As more staff are working remotely, employers are prioritising subtly different skills. Finding staff who can excel in the new working environment adds to recruiters’ challenges.

The skills shortage doesn’t just affect recruiters and managers. Often other team members are hit the hardest when vacant roles aren’t filled.

Our staff will often try to manage increasing, stressful workloads to keep projects on track. Despite their best efforts, making up for such a high level of vacancies is unsustainable in the medium to long term.

When workers try to carry more than their own workload, the end result is almost inevitably burnout and increased staff turnover. High staff turnover only exacerbates the problem.

In these conditions, the usual solutions aren’t good enough. Finance firms will need creative ways to fulfil their recruitment needs, fill vacancies, and retain essential team members.

So, let’s get creative.

Five ideas finance companies can use to keep recruiting during a skills shortage

1. Enhance your employer brand

Having a great employer brand is the first step to finding great staff. Workers today aren’t just interested in their salary or even days off. They want meaningful work, a sense of collaboration, social responsibility and more.

They want to know what working for you will be like. And your employer branding is your opportunity to answer that question.

Creating a great employer brand doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it really shouldn’t be complicated at all. If you’ve already created a great workplace and corporate culture, all you have to do is let it shine.

Talk honestly to your employees about the best (and worst) parts of working for your company. Highlight the positives on your company website and social media and put some effort into fixing the negatives.

2. Be smart about sourcing

As recruitment gets harder, recruiters need to work smarter to get the results we need. This is a great time to identify inefficiencies and obstacles in your recruitment process and look for innovative technical solutions.

A more streamlined recruitment process doesn’t just make life easier for recruiters and HR departments. It can also dramatically improve the applicant experience. 

This means fewer applicants will drop out before you make a hiring decision, and even those you choose not to hire will have a more favourable impression of your company.

Automating aspects of your recruitment process is good for everyone — managers, recruiters, and applicants. This might mean using automated interview scheduling, pre-screening questions, and automatically generating reports on recruitment metrics, including DEI efforts.

You might also look into more creative uses of tech to improve your recruitment efforts. crooton’s unique employer fencing technology allows you to target your ads to a specific geographical area or even a single building.

Imaginative use of tech and automation can be a key tool in your recruitment strategy to target your efforts exactly where they’re needed.

3. Focus on upskilling your current workforce

Taking on a new hire can be a risky proposition. For every star new employee, we risk finding someone who isn’t quite as advertised. We get it right most of the time, but the costs of making a bad hire are considerable.

Rather than recruiting high-level staff who are more expensive (and challenging) to replace, consider training your existing team to take on higher-level duties.

Upskilling existing workers has several strong advantages over seeking new hires.

You already know a great deal about your employees, including their work ethic and reliability. You know that you can trust them, and they feel rewarded and valued because you’re choosing to invest in their development.

Recruiting junior workers is typically easier than finding the perfect fit for more senior roles. You may also find that younger workers have the digital skills that more senior staff may need to develop.

Consider using resources like the Financial Services Skills Commission’s Future Skills Framework or skills gap toolkit to help guide your training and development plans.

4. Or try recruiting from adjacent industries

When it comes to recruitment, we’re less interested in thinking outside the box than we are in thinking outside our industry. Looking to adjacent industries to find your next great hire can dramatically increase your available candidate pool.

Rather than creating an image of the ideal candidate, think about the skills that candidates will need to use. Which skills can you develop in-house, and which does the applicant need to bring with them already?

Consider recruiting candidates experienced with new digital technologies like AI, automation, and Machine Learning from various industries. Look for skills that mesh with the rest of your team rather than replicating the same abilities.

5. Save money by recruiting at scale

Despite seeing their value in other business areas, we rarely think of economies of scale when planning our recruitment efforts.

Taking a strategic approach to recruitment and having a long-term plan can help you minimise duplicate efforts and reduce recruitment costs.

Many companies have a reactive approach to recruitment, looking for new staff only when a problem arises or a role urgently needs covering. Hiring freezes are perhaps the most extreme example of this kind of strategy and are rarely the sign of a happy or healthy workplace.

A more effective approach is to consider your planned business growth over the next two or five years and consider a recruitment strategy to help you achieve that growth. This allows you to be proactive in your recruitment, saving money and making better decisions.

Recruiting at scale can be especially effective with crooton, thanks to our fixed price recruitment services. We want to help you find the best quality candidates. Once you’ve met them, it’s up to you whether you hire one, ten, or a hundred — without paying any more.

During rough times, it’s good to know you’ve got help when you need it. Get in touch with the crooton team today to find out how we can help you fill your recruitment needs, despite the challenges.