With the elections looming, there has been quite a bit of talk about Jersey’s ‘recruitment crisis’ – across both public and private sectors. It’s good to hear candidates recognise this and talk about investing in local skills, etc. However, the problems and pressures of a ‘war for talent’ are immediate and are already having a detrimental effect on many local employers.
According to a recent article in Business Eye CI, just 910 people in Jersey were registered at the end of Q1 2018 as actively seeking work – a reduction of 110 people since the previous quarter and 310 since Q1 2017. This follows a similar pattern of decline in available workers over the last 5 years – so the problem is clearly getting worse.
Upskilling and training certainly helps, but it will not fill the shortfall of workers required at all levels of experience and across most industries in Jersey. According to the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, 45% of businesses take 3 to 12 months to fill a vacancy, with 10% taking more than a year. Businesses are attributing this to the lack of available candidates, and it appears that the Finance industry is particularly badly affected.
If they’re not doing so already, it really is time for organisations to think outside the box and consider how they can actively attract untapped talent, such as:
– the huge number of professional women who have taken time out of work but are struggling to find employment that either genuinely offers the flexibility they need to balance work and family or pays sufficiently to cover their childcare costs
– people with disabilities (both seen and unseen) for whom the workplace puts up barriers that makes employment almost impossible for them – despite the fact that they may be highly skilled and capable of work
– young people, often from minority backgrounds, who simply do not consider Jersey’s primary industries of Finance and Law as a career option open to them, because of a perceived (and sadly sometimes genuine) lack of diversity and inclusivity within these businesses.
So what can organisations do to tap into these much needed talent pools? The good news is that it is really not difficult or necessarily expensive to adapt your recruitment processes and working practices to attract and retain new, local talent.
The even better news is that these changes and initiatives will actually make your business more profitable in the longer term. Diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and thinking styles at all levels of your business – particularly at senior levels – will not only make you more attractive as an employer, but will give you access to new markets and improve your creativity, ability to innovate and decision making.
– Implementing different working options to suit different needs and work/life pressures. With our 24/7, digital culture, incredibly few businesses can now survive with traditional 9-5 opening hours, and so why would 9-5 working hours continue to be a recipe for business success? Flexible working can work extremely well for your business as well as individual employees, providing you give proper consideration to communication and core hour coverage.
– Providing quality support for parents returning to work after taking time out of work for parental leave. This will give more employees the confidence to return to work after having a baby. Such support includes maternity coaching, mentoring and genuine flexibility.
– Working with schools to help breakdown barriers to social mobility, by providing information to and mentoring students considering their future career options.
– Adapting your traditional recruitment processes to take into consideration the different needs of people with disabilities, such as dyslexia and autism, and so overcome some of the barriers to many bright people even making it through your recruitment processes. There are several charities in Jersey who can offer brilliant support in this area, such as The Jersey Employment Trust and Autism Jersey.
– Actively considering if recruiting only graduates from a select pool of traditional, red brick universities is really essential to the roles you are recruiting for. Why limit your business to such a small pool of talent for whom there is already fierce competition? The Big 4 professional services firms, such as EY and KPMG, dropped these requirements a long time ago and have reaped the benefits in terms of recruiting diverse talent.
Consider too the transferable skills you are looking for and the types of roles that people might develop them in. Recruiting straight from a very similar organisation has it’s benefits, but can actually be very limiting in terms of bringing in new ways of thinking and seeing the world – which are essential for business growth.