The talent crisis: panic hiring is not the answer

As the UK hits the highest number of job vacancies in 20 years business leaders are panic hiring to fill vacancies and to heal financial wounds. Yet an underlying theme predicted to surface from the talent crisis is the impact on social mobility, and poorly executed recruitment could reverse any positive progress.

Following two years of economic unrest and various socio-political events, equal opportunities have never been more under the spotlight, and there are other ways to address talent shortages without cutting corners and risking damage to social mobility.

The talent crisis and social mobility:

Great Resignation vs staff shortages: HR tackles the UK's talent paradox

Social mobility rises up the business agenda

How employers can get involved with social mobility

Strategic hiring is king 

Hiring staff already costs organisations upwards of 150% of an employee’s salary, and studies show 46% of panic hires fail within 18 months.

You wouldn’t rush a client project to get to the end product without risk of getting it wrong or only fulfilling half of the brief, so why would you rush the hiring process?

Strategic hiring, with a focus on social mobility and diversity of thought, is the mindful pathway leaders should be taking not only for their long-term gain but for their team’s success too.

This includes opening the gates to talent from ‘less traditional’ routes such as apprenticeships, courses, and alternate experiences. 

Two thirds of Britons now say that attending university is not viable or affordable, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect job specifications and qualifications to change over the coming years in response to this.

Some of the top practices, such as PWC’s Flying Start programme, are leading the way by taking individuals straight from A-Levels and giving them the chance to earn their ACA qualification and degree at the same time.  

Fresh perspectives and multifaceted skillsets are unlikely to be found when hiring hastily and from one stream.  


In-house upskilling

It is common for leaders and HR directors to look externally to quickly find the skills they’re lacking, but it’s more than likely there is potential already within your team to bridge the gaps.

With company growth comes the need for further learning and development, and as the adage goes, waste not, want not.

By harnessing current staff’s abilities and potential by investing in training internally, hiring managers can very quickly build a few select individuals into a team of specialists. The result? Multifaceted staff given the opportunities to advance and hone their skills.

Panic hiring talent not only risks missing out on someone far more qualified for a role, but it undoes the objectives of a fair and objective recruitment strategy.

The UK government’s building back better doesn’t mean cutting corners, it means building a more stable and resilient workforce with the economy and society in mind and levelling the playing field.

Regardless of the job market, we mustn’t let panic take over. Leaders should keep the end goal in mind and continue to assist the social mobility of both new and current staff. Hire smarter, not faster.


Chris Goulding is managing director at HR recruitment firm Wade Macdonald