Are you experiencing a shortage of top talent?

Having recently attended the CIPD Recruitment Exhibition, it will come as no surprise that we found one of the most widely acknowledged issues facing our industry currently, to be a shortage of top talent. So what are companies doing to combat the challenges? And what are YOU doing by comparison?

The findings we are exploring were collated by the CIPD, in partnership with Hays, and can be found within the Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey which examines organisations’ resourcing and talent planning strategies and practices and the key challenges and issues they face. The 2015 survey report is based on responses from 520 organisations. The survey covers an extensive range of topics, but the four key factors that we have discussed further are Recruitment, Retention, Attraction and Diversity.


With the technological and economical advances we are now experiencing, many companies are finding that the ever-changing skillsets required are becoming increasingly difficult to source.  Over three quarters experienced recruitment difficulties last year, over four-fifths feel that competition for talent has increased over the past two years and nearly two-thirds report that the skills needed for jobs in their organisation are changing.

As a result, resourcing budgets have increased and organisations are increasingly turning to external agencies, combining in-house and outsourced approaches. However, it would also seem that despite a third of respondents having reduced their use of recruitment partners over the last 12 months, twice as many organisations as in previous years have formed a closer partnership with the remaining few.

The use of technology to recruit has increased slightly since the previous year, with 43% having implemented the use of new media, however this is much less than the anticipated 56%. Aside from this slightly elevated use of technology, it would seem that there has been little change in the practices used to reduce recruitment difficulties – sponsoring relevant professional qualifications, up-skilling existing employees and recruiting candidates from different sectors or industries remain the most common practices organisations employ. However, what has appeared to have developed in the last 12 months, are the attraction and retention methods.


More than three quarters of the companies surveyed had challenges retaining staff in the previous year. However, it is clear that businesses are responding to those difficulties, as just 12% of organisations were not engaging in any specific retention initiatives. The most common practice to recover retention was to improve pay and benefits and to provide more opportunities for learning and development. Although, interestingly what was deemed to be the most effective retention method, increased pay and benefits, was also considered to be the very least effective.

One concerning factor revealed in the survey, was that despite just 12% of respondents not having retention initiatives, only 15% report that their organisation calculates the cost of labour turnover, 72% reported that they do not and a further 13% were unsure whether their business did or not. It’s encouraging to see such efforts going towards retention, but can the alternative really have been considered, if the potential cost has not been addressed?


The survey report has revealed a prevalent focus on improving employer brand, with 86% of respondents having made an effort to improve employer brand over the last 2 years. This incorporates the development / enhancement of corporate websites (65%) improvement of the candidate experience (46%) and the attending of careers fairs or networking events (33%) among others. The customer or candidate relationship with companies has undoubtedly changed in recent years and just one positive or negative experience can have a huge impact on the branding.

As evidenced in the survey report, organisational values and good working practices are considered the two most influential factors when it comes to employer branding.


There is a very interesting gap emerging – as we’ve discussed, there are concerns relating to technological advances and the lack of talent with experience in these fields, however, simultaneously there are fears that an ageing workforce of 50+ is soon to leave and their knowledge is not necessarily being passed on to other areas of the business – half of all the companies surveyed revealed concerns about the looming skills gap, and yet just 29% of those concerned are not consciously trying to transfer knowledge.

In spite of this developing gap, almost three-fifths of organisations surveyed have a diversity strategy. The most common methods employed are the same as in previous years – obtaining data on gender, disability, age, ethnicity etc. through recruitment monitoring and / or existing staff information whilst actively looking to engage talent across the board.

In Summary

The need for changing key skills has undoubtedly altered the landscape of resourcing and talent planning and the vast majority of businesses are finding increased competition for top talent.  Many are responding to these challenges, as well as the prospect of a widening skills gap, but is there more that could be done?

Shifts in technology not only create new niche roles within organisations, but also generate new channels for sourcing such talent – could companies be doing more in this field, as the use of technology to recruit has increased much less than anticipated?

Furthermore, although new media allows for numerous touch-points between organisations and their customers and potential candidates, ultimately individuals have just one relationship with a brand. The importance of employer branding has therefore become paramount and it is clear that the vast majority of organisations have recognised and responded to this trend. Have you?

To download the full survey report, please go to

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Date: 15/07/2015
Author: Tilly Hetherington

About the author:

Operations Executive at CVWOW


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