UK businesses turn inwards as the war for talent in UK job market heats up

16 September 2021

Manchester, UK: 16 September 2021 – UK businesses are initiating hiring drives and placing a huge emphasis on securing the right talent as they look to grow amid a more positive economic outlook
Recruitment is currently a top three focus for organisations looking to expand. In the UK, over one-third of organisations (38%) see it as a major challenge for their business. In fact, one in ten (11.1%) view recruitment as the biggest people management challenge they face in the coming years. This is not surprising given official figures showing job vacancies have hit over one million – the highest figure since records began.

With a war for talent in progress, many firms are looking inwards to fill roles. Across the UK, nearly two in five (17.4%) are recruiting and promoting more from within as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an average of 47% of vacancies being filled from existing ranks of people.

Organisations are also turning to technology to help them prioritise recruitment. A third (32.1%) state they have invested in a high degree of HR digitalisation for recruitment, and one in 20 (4.7%) now use AI, robots, or digital assistants in the recruitment and selection processes.

When it comes to internal recruitment and skills planning, nearly a third (32.7%) of UK businesses are using digital applications and smart systems to predict which talents are needed in certain departments. More than one in ten (11.1%) companies are using a personnel planning tool that enables them to plan their workforce and achieve optimal staffing levels and a similar number (15.6%) use a talent management system that keeps track of the skills they have in-house and which skills they are still missing.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead, SD Worx, said: “While businesses have been reinvigorated as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, they are now facing scaling challenges. Hiring drives and talent shortages in the market are putting pressure on HR professionals to fight for the right people in the war for talent.

“We’re seeing that digital HR can be one of the greatest assets in an HR pro’s toolkit to help select, manage and onboard candidates, but many companies are lagging behind, or not exploring valuable opportunities in outsourcing recruitment work. Looking for ways to diversify HR practices and leverage tools and outsourcing will prove vital for recruitment in the coming months and years.”

About the survey

In June 2021, SD Worx surveyed a total of 2,746 decision-makers from European companies in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. They were asked about their priorities, HR challenges, outsourcing, HR service delivery, talent development and mobility, performance, digital HR, and more. The study involved companies across all sectors. Around 60% of the companies surveyed had fewer than 250 employees, around 30% had between 250 and 3,000 staff on the payroll, and 10% had more than 3,000 employees. Around 50% of the companies surveyed are active in the services sector, while it also featured companies in the agricultural, industrial, government and non-profit sectors.

About SD Worx

In today’s new world of work, people want to be inspired by what they do and have the freedom to focus on what matters. Organisations need a dynamic, motivated workforce empowered by smart technology. As a leading European provider of people solutions, SD Worx turns HR into a source of value for their customers’ business and the people that work for them. SD Worx delivers people solutions across the entire employee lifecycle, from paying employees to attracting, rewarding and developing the talent who make businesses succeed. SD Worx powers performance through four core capabilities: technology, outsourcing, expertise and data-driven insights.

More than 76,000 small and large organisations across the globe place their trust in SD Worx and its +75 years' worth of experience. SD Worx offers its people solutions in 150 countries, calculates the salaries of approximately 5 million employees and ranks among the top five worldwide. The more than 5,300 employees at SD Worx operate in sixteen countries: Belgium (HQ), Austria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. In 2020, SD Worx achieved a consolidated turnover of more than EUR 800 million.