Recruitment Challenge In Education and Healthcare

Public sector pay rise plans hit new record but still lag private sector

The latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD has found public sector employers raising pay to new highs in the cost-of-living crisis and in response to challenges finding staff, with more than half (52 per cent) reporting they have hard-to-fill vacancies.

The CIPDs report found that the strike-hit health and education sectors are facing particular challenges in recruiting staff, with 60 per cent of education employers and 55 per cent of healthcare employers reporting hard-to-fill vacancies. Looking ahead, 45 per cent of public sector employers expect significant problems filling vacancies to continue over the next six months. To address recruitment challenges, and in addition to pay decisions, the CIPD is urging employers to focus on job quality, inclusive recruitment, flexible jobs, and investment in workforce skills.

In response to current challenges, expected pay awards in the public sector have risen to 3.3 per cent. This is the highest level seen in the CIPDs report since tracking began in 2012. However, despite the record increase, this still lags median base pay expectations of 5 per cent among private sector employers, who also report difficulties recruiting the staff they need. Four in ten private sector employers report hard-to-fill vacancies, while 23 per cent expect significant difficulties filling vacancies over the next six months.

Besides increasing pay, the most common responses by employers to address hard-to-fill vacancies over the last six months were:

       upskilling staff (55 per cent of public sector employers vs. 49 per cent of private sector employers)

       increasing the duties of existing staff (48 per cent public sector vs. 34 per cent private sector)

       improving job quality, for example, by increasing flexible working (21 per cent public sector vs. 32 per cent private sector)

The labour market may have become less competitive in recent months but there is still strong demand for workers across the economy, with public sector employers finding it particularly hard to find the staff they need,” said Jon Boys, senior labour market economist for the CIPD.

Pay will be key for many people in the cost-of-living crisis but employers should look beyond this to the full range of measures they can take to boost how they recruit and retain their employees. These include more inclusive approaches to recruitment, creating more flexible jobs, as well as investing in training and developing line managerspeople management skills.

The UK Government could also help employers upskill their workforce and fill skills gaps by reforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible skills and training levy.

To boost job quality, the CIPD say employers can consider a range of approaches including:

       Offering flexible working arrangements – this must go beyond homeworking to ensure people with frontline roles can also benefit

       Improving employment conditions, such as changes to contractual arrangements

       Giving employees more say in decision making

       Increasing progression opportunities and investing in skills development

       Improving job design

       Improving training for managers to enhance their people management skills

       Introducing or increasing automation for routine or menial tasks

       Introducing measures to support financial wellbeing.

 

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