The ONS Labour Market Overview for November showed that the number of job vacancies within the UK remain at historically high levels. Employers, faced with filling vacancies during a job hunters’ market, will find themselves in greater competition for candidates. This may mean a greater focus on meeting candidate expectations when it comes to job offers and roles whether this be in the form of greater flexibility around working hours, hybrid and home working and so on indicating that organisations will need to work harder to position themselves as the most desirable employer.
The CIPD reports that the construction industry is almost twice as likely as other industries to recruit by word of mouth. Whilst word of mouth can be an effective means of engaging with individuals it does have some drawbacks. The use of more informal channels can be limiting through its ability to reach a wide audience, limiting the prospective candidate pool and creating the potential to perpetuate existing gender inequalities within the industry due to the stronger likelihood of recruiting those with similar backgrounds and characteristics. This can lead to unintended consequences such as unconscious bias.
ACAS defines unconscious bias as thinking “better of someone because they believe they’re alike and less of someone because that person is different to them”. One of the measures advised to reduce unconscious bias is to advertise vacancies in a variety of places to attract people from a range of different backgrounds. The fight for the strongest candidates in the current labour market may lead to consideration of a broader pool of candidates as well as the need to consider less experienced individuals possessing the right attitudes and behaviours but potentially lacking requisite skill to be trained into roles. This may mean consideration of applicants from a variety of educational backgrounds or from other industries. All of which has the potential to create a far more diverse workforce as a result.