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Why it’s mega tough to hire.

By Simon on

The ongoing candidate shortage is baffling, to say the least, and has left many companies with hiring headaches, so the following may throw some light on why filling digital and marketing jobs is proving a little tricky. It’s also to underline the importance of not feeling hard done by if you can’t find the most apt people. Forrest Gump would most likely say the current job market is FUBAR and it’s hard to disagree!

Apart from the obvious of living in a chaotic world, and no surprises here – Covid has changed the jobs market beyond our wildest imagination, and no one would have ever foreseen the current landscape unless you’re Malcolm Gladwell or Elon Musk, who tend to have a knack for predicting the impalpable stuff.   

In truth, we’ve not really seen The Great Resignation in all its glory but one thing is for sure, the workforce has shrunk significantly and, without question, has far fewer toilers for employers to choose from. During the pandemic, a vast amount retired, many fled back to their homes of origin, within the UK and outside, and many younger workers dropped out of their chosen career paths, either for a career break or to do something completely different. Thus, further reducing the availability of skilled candidates, whilst hiring activity hit record levels. We know one very savvy marketer with an illustrious career behind them, who swapped the challenges of SEO and PPC for a new life in landscape gardening. And, a few more have done the same, with marketers becoming property developers to organic food makers as well as a few others going down random career paths.    

What’s also very tricky for companies is hiring skilled marketers that want favourable pay, as well as a better work-life balance, to avoid the joys of public transport and over congested roads, and who can blame them. Some firms are simply not set up correctly to look after people on a WFH basis. Workers also have significantly different aspirations and this constant call for a better work-life balance has sent shivers down the spines of many corporate bureaucrats.

In 2021, nearly 5.4 million applications were filed to form new businesses which is 1.9 million more than in 2019, the year before Covid landed. That’s just one part of how the labour market is changing. On top of this, you’ve also got many companies that do not have a system set up to hire people they’ve never met or, how to manage hiring in a dysfunctional market where many job hunters are simply not fully motivated and rely on online reviews to gauge the reputation of employers.          

Those who are most in demand and normally making their second or third career moves quit their careers for a change in lifestyle and have done so because they have never experienced a recession or mass unemployment, all they have known is a market where there is an abundance of jobs and the prospect of a substantial pay increase every time they swap jobs. In some respects, it has created a malaise in the minds of job seekers who are quite happy to stay put unless something amazing comes along. It’s just becoming extremely difficult for employers to meet the demands of a modern-day job seeker with a diverse and long list of requirements.    

On top of this, people in their 50s and 60s have simply disappeared from the job market, either through ill-health or the need to care for elderly relatives. However, many have dropped out mainly because they can afford to or have simply had enough of working in bizarre conditions.        

We’ve also seen marketers, or those who can afford it, return to education or simply run in the direction of where the most well-paid jobs exist. To give some peace of mind, it’s not just you that’s suffering from hiring headaches; Office for National Statistics for Data show that nearly all sectors are affected by labour shortages, from transport, energy and finance to tech, media and marketing.   

How long it will last is a tough question to answer and, without Elon being available for comment, it’s anyone’s guess, but if you are in hire mode your offering must be exquisite enough to entice people and if you’re still offering less than 25 days holiday, you will have a very long wait.