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Lack of candidates in the market place: Lacking people or lacking talent?

Posted: 04 Sep 2013

The past few years have seen the economy take some interesting turns, from the recession, to the lack of public spending, to the small but promising economic growth we have seen in more recent times – it has definitely been an  interesting few years. However one thing that we are all beginning to understand is that the economy cannot take so many turns without leaving behind some knock on effects; particularly when recruiting new employees.

I have recently come across a number of articles that promote the idea that due to the economic climate there has been a shortage of people willing to uproot from their current jobs and move elsewhere. Which surely seems like a reasonable explanation for the 'lack of candidates in the marketplace' argument? Although yes, this is a valid point and cannot really be disputed, there could be a possible counter argument for this case...

The 'Lack of candidates' argument appears to be a popular topic within the recruitment world at the moment, and as we have already established, the economic crisis seems to be to blame. However, the downfall of the economy hit many businesses hard; forcing redundancies, pay cuts, business closing down etc, leaving many employees seeking new jobs. Surely this would mean a surge (however large or small) of new candidates within the market. To further develop this point, I would like to raise the reminder of the U.K's unemployment rates, again suggesting that there are many people who could be potentially seeking a new role.

Despite this fact, recruiters and employers alike are still using the 'lack of candidates' phrase. After looking at the research and evidence of this topic, I believe that we are looking at this situation all wrong. I don't believe there is necessarily a lack of candidates but more simply a lack of the 'right' candidates.

The economic affect on businesses meant that most were no longer willing to recruit unless they really needed to, meaning only the urgent and in some cases niche roles are being recruited for. Despite many people being out of work, these more 'niche' roles may require certain qualifications or experiences that not everybody has. It was also well publicised news that the university fee's had increased in recent years. A factor that may have impacted the recruitment world in the sense that; higher costs results in less people willing to pay out for university courses, as a result fewer people will be achieving the needed qualifications, which means less of the qualified candidates for the necessary roles.

It would seem that there are many contributing factors to the 'lack of candidates' topic; however the real question is how can it be resolved? This is truly a difficult one to ask! We cannot change the job market, nor can we make the candidates we need appear, however maybe there are a few options of recruitment practice that we can keep in mind when searching for those tricky placements.

It may help as an internal or external recruitment team to think like the potential candidates of the current financial climate. Referring back to the original theory, people may not yet be considering the possibility of new opportunities due to how fresh the growth of business is, all willingness to explore new career paths has been put on hold to focus on maintaining their current positions. Ask yourself, if you were in this position would you be scouring the job market? If you haven't paid attention to current opportunities, how do you know that there isn't something better for you out there as a candidate? As an employer or recruiter, how would you know that the market is lacking in your perfect candidate if you don't search a little more tactfully?

As I delve further into this topic, it has become very apparent to me that if we are to blame economic issues for the lack of candidate's argument we need to appreciate that the main issue, I believe is the element of risk. As employers and job seekers we have lost the ability to take risks within our careers, even if the risk is a positive one. With so much change in the working climate around us, we have become far too determined to stay in our comfort zones and attempt to limit the change – a factor that most of us career driven people did not used to dwell on.

Solving employment issues is not something that is going to easy, nor is it simple. However, maybe a good start to positively affect the job market would be learning to embrace the element of risk again. If we don't take risks within our careers, we can only stay in one place – if this is the case, how do we expect to grow? I believe that if we learn to follow our instinct of taking positive risks, we can again start to improve not only our own careers, but also the job market in general.

Why are we afraid to ask the Boss for a pay rise?

Posted: 08 Aug 2013

If there was ever a taboo subject within the workplace it has to be the topic of money. It is an unusual concept that the very reason many of us walk into the office on a daily basis is to receive the monthly percentage of our salaries, yet we are so cautious to discuss the matter, especially when it comes to asking for a pay rise.

Let's face it, at some point we all feel like we are worth more than what we are paid. Maybe you feel you have committed everything to your employer, and believe now is the time for your good efforts to be repaid? Maybe your skill set out ways your bank balance every month? Maybe it's as simple as your boss just isn't paying you what you believe they should be? I am certain that everybody will experience this at some point in their careers, what matters are the actions you take to deal with the issue.

So let's imagine that you have decided that it is time for a pay rise. Who do you go to? Well the boss of course! Every employee is aware that in order to gain the pay rise they deserve, they have to go straight to the top, and that means speaking to the boss. After all, if you have proven yourself to deserve this pay increase then there should be no issue with approaching the boss and simply asking the question.

It all sounds so easy. However, the point of planning to approach the boss seems to be where the journey ends for some.

All too frequently we are seeing people avoiding the 'awkward' and 'uncomfortable' scenario where we actually speak directly to our employers about what we want. As fewer people are willing to bring up the pay rise topic, it seems that they are quite simply just seeking employment elsewhere before even giving it a try.

The recurring pattern is this; employees want a deserved pay rise, but the prospect of asking the boss can be a tad daunting, as a result they begin to search the job market for a higher paid role rather than ask the question. After putting themselves on the market and finding a prospective role they are interested in, they begin the recruitment process; the CV's, the interviews, the job offers...

Providing the recruitment process is a success, we can envisage that you have a  job offer on the table, and as long as the new role is offering your wanted salary it would seem only right to accept it. The only thing left for you to do is hand in your notice and inform your boss that you will be leaving. But let's now imagine that your boss in fact does not want to lose you as a valued employee and counter offers you for the same amount of money as the role? Fact of the matter is, the only reason you wanted to leave in the first place was to increase your salary, if you have the option to do that and stay in your original role, with your original company, what would you do? You would of course accept your bosses offer and stay – a situation that could have been avoided had you spoken to your boss first.

In short this is a long and drawn out process that could be solved so easily by referring back to the original question, what is the reason we are so afraid to ask for a pay rise? There is no denying that everyone finds it difficult to ask for anything that relates to money, this is simply human nature, but the real issue could be that we are looking at the topic in the wrong way. It is not money you are asking for, it is an improvement of benefit to your role and hard work that you are requesting.

Maybe taking a different approach to pay rise question could be far more helpful than worrying about it? So how should we go about salary questions...

Don't be afraid to ask  -  don't feel as if you are enquiring for something completely out of the ordinary, if you are a valued employee with track record of great work you needn't feel as if you are being demanding, if you have demonstrated that you are worth the increase your boss should be willing to negotiate.

The most crucial point could be to know what you are worth. A huge mistake would be to go into your bosses' office with an unrealistic expectation. Be realistic, be fair, and be willing to negotiate. It is important to try not to enter the conversation using a job offer as a threat, although job offers may worry the boss that you will leave the company, they could also see it as lack of commitment for not speaking to them first.

If you are completely happy with every aspect of your role and company other than wanting the pay rise, look to your boss before you look to find another job. Looking for another role that you are not fully committed to only wastes your own time and other people's, speak to the boss, get the answers you need and then make your decisions about starting the recruitment process.

Most of all be positive about it! A pay rise isn't something to dread asking for; it's a reward for your good efforts! If you're boss is as certain as you are that you deserve it then there will surely be room for discussion. And remember, people within your organisation don't know your ideas about your role unless you tell them, so don't feel as if you shouldn't approach them about it, discussions and ideas regarding your place within the organisation help everyone have a better understanding with how you feel as an employee.

Social Media for Business – Lets start simple...

Posted: 17 Jul 2013

There is no doubt that is has become increasing difficult to ignore the world of social media in modern-day; it has become an avid part of everyday life, for personal and professional use. I can almost guarantee that there is not a single day when we are not bombarded with promotions and ads for companies asking us to 'follow 'or 'like' their business pages.

With the apparent recent drive to Social Networking for business it seems that when we take a look at our own websites and ask ourselves 'Do I really need Social Media?' The answer needs to be yes.

It is a fact that Social Media has become a powerful and essential tool to enhance areas of business and even build strategies around, however a common issue that many appear to face is exactly how to get started.

An important factor when creating a whole new network for your business on a new social platform is to go back to basics. It can be a common mistake with many businesses that when setting up a new social profile they tend to throw everything into it in the first few weeks. Start simple – if you begin your new social networking well, the odds are in your favour that it will continue to grow well. In order to have a successful start to any form of social media there are a few key points to keep in mind...

What is your market?

What is the use of creating your business profile and posting some great content if you don't know where to find your market? Do your research. Know who you are targeting and exactly where to find them. The Social Media world is a big place – don't let your content get lost out there with the wrong audience.

Content is still key!

This could be the most repeated phrase in reference to marketing within any form of Social Network from Facebook to Blogging sites, despite the cliché, it is a crucial aspect of maintaining an audience. You cannot expect to build a network with content that does not reflect time and commitment.(Another cliché - but try to create content about things that genuinely interest you, if you don't believe in what you are saying then neither will your potential customers.

Vary your content!

The fact is not everyone is using Social Media for professional purposes. You know how great your business is but sadly not everyone wants to hear about it. If you're on Twitter to promote your brand, that's great but let's not spam the followers that you have worked so hard to gain. Vary your posts; sure, tell them all about your website and your new business ventures but maybe post something relevant to your industry and followers that will keep readers interested.

When should you post?

This could be the most asked question with regards to Social Media. Really, there is no right or wrong answer. It will all come together in a form of trial and error, keeping your target audience in mind if you tend post in the early morning and receive no traffic from it, then you are probably targeting the wrong time period. Try different times and days, you are sure to find your niche with experimentation. But remember your audience is key – if you are hoping for IT professionals that work 9-5 to read your posts, it may be best to post around lunch time rather than within working hours...

Remember - Traffic loves a link!

Linking your new profiles to your existing content can be great for your online presence. If you have created a Google+ page, why not link it up with your company website? Not only is a beneficial to driving traffic to your website, it can help to verify your business. The more information you provide on yourself the more likely people are to trust what you're telling them. Trust can be a crucial part of an online business – if people don't know or trust what you do they are never going to use your service, make sure you are user friendly.

These are just a few helpful tips that we have picked up on during our social Media journey, and you are guaranteed to keep learning how to adapt your techniques and improve your online presence as your purpose for Social Media varies. The most important thing to remember is that how you begin your social networking can determine your success. Don't rush or spam to gain traffic and views, if you start out with great content and commitment you have a good chance of growing a successful network.


MRJ Recruitment

Queens Chambers, 5 John Dalton Street, Manchester, M2 6ET