• Stephen Flanagan

Is talent REALLY a priority in your organisation or are you just paying lip service?

Hays Ireland launched their Salary & Recruiting Trends Report for 2018 today. Highlights include that an incredible 98% of employers experienced skill shortages in the past year. In addition, 50% say those skill shortages are impacting productivity, 31% think those shortages are hampering growth plans, and 36% think they are affecting employee morale.

And it’s not just Hays Ireland saying this (their reports in the UK, Canada and Australia say something similar).

According to PWC’s global CEO survey for 2016, 72% were concerned about the availability of key skills.

In Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report for 2017, 78% of business leaders ranked employee retention as important or urgent. That was a survey of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders from 140 countries.

Looking at LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends report for 2017, 83% of 4,000 corporate talent acquisition leaders across 35 countries said that talent is the no. 1 priority for their company.

Yet I’m left with the impression this is all hot air. Not the integrity of the surveys, but the substance of the responses. This has to be questioned. Take a look at the thousands of jobs ‘advertised’ (I use that term loosely) on the job boards in Ireland and the UK and the vast majority are just a list of job duties and requirements. Where is the focus on attracting talent and selling the job? What are these companies doing to inspire and persuade the reading candidates that this is the ideal job for them?


So, if there is a serious lack of effort in attracting candidates through their 'shop window' how can talent be a priority?

Image courtesy of biography.com

“The true definition of madness is repeating the same action, over and over and expecting a different result” Albert Einstein

Going back to the Hays report, three-quarters of all employees surveyed, anticipate moving in the next two years. If there is a talent shortage and most companies are evidently not trying their best to attract talent, you would think they would be doing more to hold on to their current employees?

One of Hays’ three recommendations for how companies can tackle skill shortages is to invest in their employer brand.

Here are some stats around the benefits of employer branding from LinkedIn.

  • 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring

  • It attracts 50% more qualified applicants

  • Which leads to a 1-2 x times faster hire

  • Resulting in a cost-per-hire reduction of 50%

  • Which brings about a 28% reduction in an organisation’s turnover

Compelling figures indeed.

Typically in Ireland, we look to the USA for our trends. (Anyone remember Halloween being such a big deal ten years ago? What about Black Friday or Easter egg hunts?). And considering the number of American companies that employ staff on this little island, it would suggest we could be influenced by their work practices.

So let’s have a delve into a report called the State Of The American Workforce by the stats kings Gallup (80 years’ experience). It was developed using data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees via the Gallup Panel and Gallup Daily tracking in 2015 and 2016, and more than 31 million respondents through Gallup’s Q12 Client Database. This is their view.

“Organizations have nowhere to hide. They have to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce, or they will find themselves struggling to attract and keep great employees and therefore customers. Regardless of all the changes in the workplace, people remain the core component in an organization’s success or failure. The key to an organization’s growth has been and always will be its workforce.

When customers love a particular brand, they will go out of their way to purchase products and services from it. They become that brand’s most loyal supporters and passionate brand ambassadors. They believe the brand always delivers what it promises.

By all accounts, organizations should want their employer brand, their reputation as an employer, to be as formidable as their customer-facing brand — the same logic applies to both. A strong employer brand attracts and retains workers and turns them into advocates for the company. It differentiates their organization from the next.

Organizations that ignore the need for employer branding could miss their chance to keep talented staff onboard and therefore reduce turnover and maintain productivity. They also must convince prospective employees to choose them — and they have to do so in an era of heightened competition and constant connectedness.”

So the evidence is there. Considering your employer brand is essential to the productivity and growth of every organisation. HR professionals know it, recruiters know it, but very little is being done about it. It needs to be recognised and implemented at the very top, by the boards of directors, the CEOs and the MDs.

Do you think your company is doing everything it can to attract and retain top talent?

Talk is cheap.

Walk the walk and then let’s see where we are with talent shortages.


Stephen Flanagan is an employer brand consultant, helping large and small companies attract and retain talent. If you'd like to find out more about the power of employer branding email stephen@talentattract.ie.

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