Recruiting for ‘hard-to-fill’ vacancies could cost UK businesses up to £38 billion

We conducted research into how much hard-to-fill vacancies could cost UK businesses if they were all filled by candidates from recruitment agencies. 

With a reducing unemployment rate, there is an ever-dwindling pool of potential candidates ready to fill these vacancies. 

Latest statistics from the ONS* show that there are currently 32.75 million people over the age of 16 employed in the UK, up 357,000 since the same time last year, and unemployment has fallen from 6.6% to 3.8% – the lowest it’s been since 1974. While this is fantastic for the UK economy, it’s not so great for companies with vacancies, especially with those that are notoriously difficult to fill.

Statistics from the CIPD state that 61% of organisations that are actively hiring, report that they had at least one vacancy that they class as hard to fill.

If we apply this statistic to the 5.7 million SMEs in the UK, then there are 3.48 million vacancies that companies are struggling to fill. With an average cost of filling vacancies reportedly £11,000, the total cost to UK businesses could be £38 billion.

On top of this, organisations have reported that they are struggling with staff retention, with a third (33%) of organisations stating that it’s growing more difficult to retain employees. By actively engaging staff in referrals, rewarding and incentivising them for all steps in the recruitment process and adding elements of gamification, retention can be improved greatly. Referred candidates have an average retention rate of 46%, compared to 33% for candidates sourced through career sites. Added to this, 82% of employers rate referred candidates above all other sources for generating the best ROI.

Using a platform such as RealLinks can help businesses attract candidates and retain employees through our unique tools. Real Links uses employee referrals, incentivised and gamified, to keep current employees engaged and utilises their networks to find the right fit for the team.

By using employee referrals, candidates can be essentially handpicked by current employees based on having the right skill set and whether they would fit in with the all-important work culture. This in turn will hopefully keep the right people in the right roles and make those hard-to-fill vacancies a little bit easier to recruit for.


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