BCC’s most recent update on the difficulties to find workers highlights shortages in several key areas.
The February 2023 update said:
“Attempted recruitment in Q4 remained virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, with 61% of firms looking to find staff (62% in Q3 2022).
“Overall, over eight in ten firms (82%) attempting to recruit reported recruitment difficulties, up from 76% in Q3.
“While the problem is persistent across all sectors, firms in the hospitality sector are most likely to face challenges when recruiting, with 87% reporting difficulties. This is closely followed by the manufacturing sector on 85%, and the construction sector; professional services; and public, education, health sector all on 83%.”
According to research from fintech provider Nucleus Commercial Finance 68% of SMES with up to 150 employees are concerned about staffing in 2023.
So what can SMEs that are already strapped for cash do to help themselves in the short and medium term?
- Are you using existing staff as effectively as possible? Many companies have discovered that they already have the people they need but are not using all their available skill sets, paying close attention to skills that could be transferable.
- Be more open-minded when recruiting: New staff members don’t have to be perfect from the start. Businesses could hire applicants with 70 to 80 percent of the right requirements and help them grow into the role.
- Use contingent workers, such as freelancers, consultants and contractors to fill gaps.
- Encourage older workers to consider working on a consultancy or part time basis instead of retiring.
- Make sure the business is an attractive place to work by ensuring there are opportunities for staff to progress their careers with additional training.
In the medium term if you partner with nearby educational facilities you can offer work experience to their students and create relationships with them so that they are motivated to work for you when they complete their courses.