KD Recruitment, one of Yorkshire’s leading recruitment companies, is leading the way once again with its insights into the Yorkshire and Humber jobs market, it has been revealed.

On the back of the recent KPMG & REC, UK Report on Jobs: Northern England, KD Recruitment has frontline experience as to how recruitment will shape up in the first quarter of 2022.

KD Recruitment’s founder, Kelly Dunn said: “During the last two ‘Pandemic’ years, the North of England bucked the trend, outshining other parts of the UK with regards to temporary and permanent employment.

“This was due to many businesses in the North adapting to the difficult situation caused by Covid-19, ensuring many businesses survived one of the deepest recessions in history.

“However, it’s our opinion that now is not the time to ‘rest on our laurels’. As we emerge in a world that has to live alongside the Covid-19 virus, there are several common factors causing concern. In addition, it appears the Yorkshire and Humber region could start lagging behind in other ways if we do not adapt our recruitment and retention strategies.”

Kelly continued: “There is a big skills shortage across many sectors within our region and the time it takes many organisations to recruit has increased a lot since the beginning of last year. Working with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, their research shows the skills shortage is one the main concerns for recruiters across the UK, with 65% indicating employers will find this a bigger challenge going forward.

“Another concern is the current immigration system, which is one of the after-effects of Brexit. Businesses that rely heavily on seasonal EU workers are struggling to get the temporary VISAs needed for them to be able to come back and work in the UK.

“And as the Pandemic was a time when a lot of people re-evaluated their priorities, many employees are now reticent to change jobs as their confidence in the market hasn’t returned just yet.”

In addition, data from the Office of National Statistics (December 2021) reveals that Yorkshire and the Humber is the lowest paid area in UK, with earnings drop of -1.3% in the third quarter of 2021.

So as local employers grapple with various staffing challenges, some businesses within Yorkshire and the Humber could lag behind, with a seeming unwillingness to adapt to new business models.

Kelly continued: “Over the past two years, I have seen some amazing examples of businesses that have responded to the changing market and have adapted their recruitment and retention strategy to enable them to become an employer of choice for the region. However, there are still quite a few that are going back to pre-pandemic ways of working and they will ultimately struggle to recruit new talent into their business as well as keeping hold of the people they have.

“The grass is greener now and employees are being tempted to look elsewhere, which means businesses need to work smarter to look at ways of recruiting and retaining their workforce. I have worked with a number who have taken on board various facets that help with successful staff recruitment: they offer a simplified application process; increased salaries; a better work-life balance; consideration for mental well-being, and they also offer agile working practices, such as working from home several days a week.

“Candidates are now considering the ‘whole’ package offered by an employer, and are wanting to know the benefits of working for a prospective company. A career or role is now so much more than just a job description.”

Other developments coming up in 2022 include the permanent uptake of digital right to work (RTW), which the REC lobbied the Government to adopt during the Pandemic. While it’s been in place since March 2020, from April it will be a permanent fixture.

There is a caveat though, Kelly revealed: “While the REC and its members lobbied Central Government offer this quicker, easier and safer way of hiring employees, the Government proposes to charge for each employee using the RTW process, costing anything up to £70 per candidate based in the UK.

“This is unmanageable for SMEs and is an unnecessary expense ahead of the increase in the National Minimum Wage and higher National Insurance contributions later this year.

“Employers are undoubtedly facing increased costs in 2022, yet for employees it is also a time of great financial need as the Cost-of-Living Crisis looms large, particularly as wages in Yorkshire and the Humber region are some of the lowest in the country.

“Yet without reliable, hardworking employees, most businesses will simply not survive. It is a fine balancing act, brought on by two years of unprecedented changes. Businesses in our region should consider the new way of working in order to survive.”