'Rush to recruit' leads to drop in productivity

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Employers recruiting larger numbers of new staff following the financial crash have put UK workplace productivity at risk, according to PwC HR consulting practice partner Anthony Bruce.

Bruce was commenting on the PwC report A New Vision for Growth. The paper is based on information from 2,600 organisations globally, 150 of which are based in the UK.

It suggests that an increase in British firms hiring more external candidates (12.8% in 2014 compared to 10.9% in 2011) has led to a fall in the UK's total revenue generated per employee.

In 2008, the revenue per full-time employee was £104,000. However, due to widespread reduction in headcount it had increased to £139,000 by 2010. But since then it has fallen back to £108,000.

Bruce told HR magazine employers can use tools such as workplace analytics to get "smarter" about their recruitment and employment policies.

"It's about making the most of the staff you have," he said. "Whether that's through better use of flexible working or increased retention so you don't have to get new starters up to speed, there are alternatives to simply increasing headcount."

Bruce added that companies may be hiring to send out a positive message to wider markets.

"After the recession there was a rush to recruit to ward off the impending skills gap," he said. "But it may also be something around employers wanting to project an image of success, which recruiting people does."