A significant problem exists in the labour market, as many vacancies are open without enough employees to fill them. In this staff shortage, with a record number of 133 vacancies for every 100 unemployed, employers are going all out to recruit personnel. Good working conditions are no longer enough. So, where’s the line on how much they should offer employees?
Nevertheless, there are still sectors where companies have too many, or too expensive, employees for the amount of work. So, how can employers ensure that they get the right match for the job they need to fill?
Both situations can create bigger problems when companies try to solve them. According to Het Financieele Dagblad, for example, in the case of staff shortage, PostNL’s subcontractors relied on unauthorized resources to obtain personnel. At the same time, P&O Ferries fired its permanent employees overnight, and replaced them with cheaper temporary workers. These patterns are proof of the need to match the available employees with the places where they are most needed.
Managing to recruit
Employers are putting out great efforts to gain new employees. Some are luring potential employees with extravagant gifts and benefits. Het Parool mentions an employer from Burgh-Haamstede in Zeeland who gives a tiny house as a recruiting gift, and a distributor of solar panels gives away a holiday.
Back in the 2017 labour market shortage, catering entrepreneur Ron Blaauw came up with the idea of gifting housing, a job and a moped to employees. The recruiting technique gained a lot of publicity five years ago. The catering company still uses the successful method now that the labour market situation seems even more challenging.
How much is too much?
The extra benefits and gifts have proven to be a good formula to get employees. Nevertheless, what an employee is looking for when applying for a job is more straightforward than employers think. According to the career site Indeed, the top reasons employees don’t try to change jobs include job security, a good salary and a good coworking environment. The motives for a change are an offer of a higher salary and a new challenge. Arjan Visser, who researches vacancies on Indeed, says: “We do not see that gifts have an impact. But the big picture is important for the job seeker.”
Moreover, excessive gift-giving can become a dangerous strategy, according to Tilburg University professor Ton Wilthagen. He emphasizes the importance of meaningful work and good working conditions to gain and retain employees: “The effect of a higher wage quickly fades, as does the gift-giving. You get used to that after a few months.”
To succeed at recruiting new staff, employers should therefore focus on a range of elements, including flexible hours, the option to work from home, a comfortable workplace, room for professional development and an ongoing conversation about employees’ wishes.
Connecting work with the workforce
Getting the right match for the right job can be a challenge. Professor Toni Schmader of the University of British Columbia marks three ways employers can improve this connection.
First is the nature of the work. Be aware of how stereotypes and ideas about a particular profession play a role in influencing or dissuading potential employees. To avoid misunderstandings from the beginning, actions like inviting schools to look at the workplace or offering lessons and traineeships can help breaking stereotypes.
Next are the objectives of the organization. Keep in mind that a job is not just a good salary and career opportunities, but should also include opportunities to learn new skills, a good work environment and other aspects that an employee may find important in life.
Finally, there are the day-to-day experiences of employees. Remember that the needs and concerns of staff matter, and companies wishing to attract new staff should act against environments where sexual harassment or bullying are tolerated, so newcomers are not discouraged.
Employees have become aware of their value and know what an excellent all-around job position should offer them. Are companies taking their responsibility or will they continue to be short-staffed much longer?
Written by Bárbara Luque Alanís