Where Have All the Candidates Gone

Appointments understand how difficult it is at the moment to recruit office staff in the Staffordshire and Cheshire areas, so what can you do to attract top talent to your business? We’ve got the answer for you right here…

Where Have All the Office Staff Gone?
The importance of office staff is indisputable. They are the gateway to a business, the first point of contact with the outside world, providing a welcoming environment for customers and care for them in all their needs. They keep everything running smoothly and without them the office would grind to a halt. So where are they hiding and how can you find them?
Let’s start with the first of those questions…

Where are they?
There are several answers to this question. Firstly, the UK employment rate is 75.25% (as of September 2021) and is only 1.3% lower than pre-covid, with only 5.1% of Staffordshire residents and 4.7% of Cheshire residents actively looking for work. This number continues to drop and of course, means there are less candidates across all sectors, not just office support.
Secondly, with furlough still in place (until the end of September 2021), many people are still unsure of what their future holds. They may well be planning on leaving their current employer, or unfortunately may be made redundant however for now, they are in a kind of limbo.
Thirdly, the number of total vacancies available are at an all time high of over 1 million; with the demand for office support and administrative staff increasing by 1.6% over the last quarter.
Aside from furlough, the pandemic has also impacted the number of available candidates for various reasons. People have had more time to consider what they want from their careers and lives and there is certainly more focus on our wellbeing. This has meant more people took early retirement during the pandemic, took the opportunity to retrain or return to education, reduced the hours they work or made career changes into alternative industries.
So now you have a clearer idea of why there is a shortage of office support staff, what can you do to increase your applications?

Be patient
We know this isn’t the most helpful of advice but it’s true. With the end of furlough happening any day now, people will have a clearer picture of where they stand. They will know if they have jobs to return to, and if they want to. Once this stage of limbo is over, there will almost definitely be an increase in the number of available candidates.

Understand where your skills shortages are
When was the last time you evaluated your current office support staff? There could be a wealth of hidden gems already working for you. Speak to your current office staff and find out how they feel about their role, are there areas they would like to develop or areas where they feel their skills are not currently being used. You may find some redesigning of job roles helps you fill those gaps, at least for now whilst the number of candidates available is low.

How attractive are you?
Do you know how the salary and benefits you offer compare to those of other businesses throughout Staffordshire and Cheshire? If not, now is a good time to find out. In the race to find top talent, having a competitive offer could make or break your hiring campaign. If you are unsure how to find out this information, or do not have the time, contact Appointments today to find out how we can help you with local benchmarking.

Consider a recruitment partner
Having a local recruitment partner that is able to access a deep pool of office support candidates, such as Appointments, can save you an enormous amount of time when looking to fill your administrative roles. Collectively, we have over 50+ years of recruitment experience throughout Staffordshire and Cheshire and our Office Support Specialist, Olivia, has a fantastic relationship with her candidates; going above and beyond to ensure she makes the perfect match between client and candidate so feel free to give us a call to discuss your requirements.

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