I am sure that you will have read articles on the “Great Resignation,” with many workers (young and old) saying goodbye to their pre-pandemic roles and seeking a change, resulting in a shortage of workers in the labour market (haulage, care sector and hospitality to name just a few).

While we can clearly point the finger at two likely reasons (Brexit and Covid-19), what can businesses do to tackle the issue?  We suggest a combination of:

Visas and work permits

Large-scale migration may not cause or solve labour shortages, but it can help with temporary shortages in some industries and sponsored migrant workers can fill suitable skilled roles. The granting of visas to international HGV applicants is one temporary measure adopted by the government  Even if you are not impacted by these specific measures, getting on top of what you can and can’t do regarding immigration is sensible, especially considering whether a sponsor licence could help.

Re-think recruitment and ways of working

Think about remote working, agilityand homeworking with a fresh pair of eyes and a different mindset.

Invest in your employees

Offer training and provide for career development, skills, and educational investment.

Consider long-term incentive plans for key people

Reducing the incentive for them to leave. Some schemes have good tax advantages as well.

Consider post-termination restrictions (to make it harder for people to leave but bear in mind any potential changes under the Employment Bill will restrict you here).

Do an industry benchmarking exercise; are you paying enough, Are your benefits in line with those of other companies?

Ask your workforce what they value

It may not be money; it could be more holidays or something similar

What are the ‘stressors’ in the roles you are finding difficult to recruit for? What can you do about it?

  • How valued do you really make your employees feel?
  • When did you last visit your recruitment strategy? Is it fit for purpose in today’s world?
  • What can you mechanise/ automate? The investment may be worth it

This is a huge topic, and each business will have to take a long, hard look at themselves and address their ‘Achilles Heels’ if they want to stop the skills drain. There is no overnight fix but doing nothing is really not an option.