Employers failing to use data for future workforce planning

Less than half (46%) of employers use data to identify skills gaps in their organisation, according to a new report by the CIPD and Omni.

The CIPD’s latest Recruitment and Talent Planning Survey also found that just 31% of employers collect data to identify their future skills requirements.

The report comes as job vacancies surpass one million.

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the CIPD, told HR magazine that employers should be making better use of data to plan ahead.

She said: “When it comes to recruitment some of the metrics have not always been in place. Only 20% of employers actually calculate the cost of losing someone from their business. If you're not even recognising that then you're not going to understand how important it is to retain people.”

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The report which surveyed over 1,000 employers also found that 43% of organisations take an ad-hoc approach to recruitment, with just 13% measuring their return on investment of their recruitment activities and a further 13% collecting data to assess the availability of talent in the market.

Olly Britnell, global head of people strategy, technology and analytics at Experian, told HR magazine: “Unfortunately these stats don’t surprise me.

"The combination of short-term focus, lack of dedicated capability in this area alongside the slow pace of acquiring the right depth of skills and capabilities datasets, remain the biggest hurdles to strategic workforce planning.”

Britnell said HR systems and processes need to mature in order for organisations to better capture the data they need.

“The best organisations will be proactively investing and driving [data collection] and ensuring full alignment with their business plans & objectives," he said.

"These organisations will be reaping significant competitive advantage over the coming years as talent supply gaps and challenges grow.”

McCartney added that even the most rudimentary data can help organisations to plan ahead more effectively.

“The challenge around data is that organisations probably get concerned that they need to have really sophisticated approaches in place,” she said.

“But actually even measuring the cost of recruitment against turnover can provide compelling evidence to an organisation’s board about effective recruitment spend and the importance of retaining people.”

The report also identified an increase in employers' efforts to develop existing staff as a way of countering current labour supply issues.

A third of organisations had developed more talent in-house compared with the previous year, while 57% had upskilled existing employees.

“We'd really recommend that organisations do a skills audit,” said McCartney. “So, looking at the people that they have at the moment and be more strategic with their L&D, looking at what sort of programmes can they put into place around upskilling people in the areas where there are talent shortages, and where they know they're going to have problems accessing talent in the labour market.”

McCartney said this investment in L&D should form part of a retention strategy; just 29% of employers had attempted to improve retention this year compared with 55% previously.