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Headhunting increases due to post-COVID talent scramble

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More than a third (38%) of UK professionals have been approached more than five times for a new job in the past year.

According to a poll of government and software professionals, the competition for talent is running high as employers fight to find the best candidates, yet it may be the private sector that suffers the most from talent poaching post pandemic.

Of government professionals asked in the survey, the majority (71%) said they hadn’t been approached about a new job in the past year. This is compared to over two-fifths (45%) of people in software roles.

Almost one in 10 (8%) of those in software approached about new roles have been offered a new job between 10 and 20 times in the past year.

Neil Purcell, CEO and founder of recruitment firm Talent Works, said that given the current demand for technical skills, businesses should be concerned about losing some of their best tech talent.


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The most recent ONS data revealed from May to June this year the number of job vacancies topped one million for the first time on record.

Speaking to HR magazine, Purcell said: “Hiring the right people, being competitive with pay, benefits and flexibility will be key for all.

“It’s important for employers to understand what employees want, and how businesses can create the right culture and environment to attract and retain talent will be high on the agenda for many c-suites and boardrooms.”

Progression opportunities (38%) came out on top of the list of things respondents said they want the most from their job, while a third (33%) pointed to company culture.

A great office was a much lower priority as only 16% said this is something they want from work.

This research is based on a poll of 500 people in the UK who work in government or software sectors, and was undertaken by Talent Works.