From both speaking to clients and from our own internal recruitment experience, it is clear that the difficulties with obtaining skilled personnel are far from over.
Clients who are recruitment consultants are having to be much more proactive instead of just looking through CVs they’ve received, and although some feel there has been a slight improvement during recent months, it’s still very hard to fill positions across all sectors. There simply isn’t enough talent out there.
Such anecdotal feedback is supported by a wealth of survey evidence. For example, according to The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) Quarterly Recruitment Outlook, the number of firms with hiring difficulties rose to a record high of 82% at the end of last year. In the first quarter of 2023 the figure fell only two percentage points to 80%, and the BCC made it clear there is no quick fix on the horizon.
The benefits armoury
Employers are therefore needing to utilise every weapon in their armoury to attract the right employees during this war for talent, and employee benefits have a front-line role to play.
We find that when existing clients have problems in securing the right people it is often a benefits issue. In some cases, potential employees turn down job offers at the very last minute because competitors can offer better pensions contributions or trump other elements of the benefits package.
Research has consistently shown that employee benefits can be valued more highly by employees than increases in salary, so it is not unusual nowadays even for smaller competitors to spend heavily in this area.
With company pensions having become compulsory with auto-enrolment, employers of all sizes are aiming to stand out from the crowd by including everything from subsidised gym memberships, Cycle To Work schemes and one-to-one pensions clinics to healthcare benefits like private medical insurance (PMI) and income protection.
PMI, which enables employees to jump the NHS queue by covering the costs of private treatment, has experienced a particularly sharp boom in popularity during recent months– when NHS staff have been on strike and treatment delays have increased even further.
The NHS waiting list has grown by an additional 210,000 to 7.4 million since Rishi Sunak announced this January that reducing it was one of his five key promises for the current Parliament!
As well as being attractive to potential employees, the presence of a PMI scheme can greatly benefit employers by reducing absenteeism and presenteeism costs.
Instead of being off work or struggling on in discomfort and being unable to function at their maximum, employees can arrange prompt treatment at a time convenient both to themselves and to others in their teams. They may even be able to contribute remotely whilst recuperating in the comfort of a private hospital room.
How we can help
An essential starting point is to find out how your benefits range compares with those of other organisations in your field, and Chase de Vere can help here via its benchmarking services. These provide reliable qualitative and quantitative information and are highly cost effective for SMEs as well as larger companies.
Relying simply on benchmarking data that appears in the trade press or other publicly available sources is arguably worse than not using benchmarking at all because these often have only small numbers of participants and tend to be skewed towards larger companies.
Armed with our benchmarking data, we can then help you establish the range of benefits that will give you the best chance of attracting and retaining talent.
We can also assist you with devising the most appropriate strategy to communicate the advantages of your benefits range to your workforce.
For example, one client with a strong benefits proposition was finding communicating it difficult because it had a high proportion of Gen Z workers. So, we managed to increase take-up rates by making the comms shorter and snappier, and by using social media a lot more than email.
If you would like to find out more about how Chase de Vere can help you with benchmarking, reviewing or communicating your employee benefits package then please don’t not hesitate to contact us.
The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute individual advice.