New research has found that 69% of SMEs say they are unable to compete with large employers in recruiting the best candidates.
The 2018 Business Barometer report by the Open University has studied the recruitment challenges facing UK businesses; it found that small firms are struggling to compete with larger recruiters because they can't afford to spend as much on salaries and recruitment strategies.
The findings show that 83% of UK businesses say talent acquisition was their number one priority last year; however, the vast majority of firms polled (91%) said they have had difficulties hiring employees.
This is particularly prevalent in the STEM sector, where 97% of employers face difficulties finding the right hires, the financial industry, where 96% struggle, and in real estate, where 83% of employers have been unable to fill vacant roles.
The research reveals that over the past 12 months in the UK:
- 64% of employers have spent more on recruitment than ever before;
- 63% have recruited at a lower level than intended;
- 56% have increased the salary on offer to recruit a skilled person.
The report concludes that the total cost of the UK skills shortage is £6.3 billion a year and SMEs, it says, shoulder the majority of the cost.
Recruitment methods are changing, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. It has found that 84% of organisations are now using social media for recruiting, up from 56% in 2011; and 79% of job seekers use social media for job searches. Of the employers using social media for recruitment, 96% used LinkedIn, while 66% and 53% used Facebook and Twitter.
Commenting on this data, John Williams, head of marketing and research at Instant Offices, said: "Social media has improved the way employers and recruitment agencies search and find new talent. If you are not yet embracing the power of social media for your recruitment efforts, you could risk being left behind."