Recruitment crisis

We have a recruitment crisis… we can’t find people with the necessary skills or experience to fill our roles… and, even if we do eventually find someone, they don’t stick around long. Is this a global phenomenon, affecting all sectors, private and public? Is it really a failure of education: a generation leaving school without basic skills?

Or could there be a far simpler explanation? Could it be that the pay is so poor that nobody in their right mind, with a wide field of options available to them, would consider working for an organisation which rewards them so poorly, neither remunerating them competitively for their efforts, nor investing in their personal development?

What would a bright young graduate gain from entering such employment, other than the satisfaction of public service? In any case, it’s not just a young workforce we’re struggling with. We’re recruiting staff of all ages, but recently seem to have had an influx of incompetents — often friends of friends and former colleagues — who lack even the basic skills required for their role.

Pay is a major disincentive given the spiralling cost of living. But suppose an individual gets their foot in the door and decides to make sacrifices, in pursuit of that illusive experience they’re missing, or simply to make ends meet post-redundancy. What is it that causes them to leave so soon? A toxic work culture? Unsupportive managers? No training? An expectation that they hit the ground running and just get on with it with little supervision or guidance? Well, we have it all.

Why do I remain there? There is an element of public service. But mostly, personally, I don’t have the courage or confidence to look elsewhere, even as all around me others seek out promotions or the next big thing. I’m content with the comforts of remote working and not spending long hours commuting. I suppose I remain, for now, because it is not unbearable. For as long as it is tolerable, I will remain.

But I suspect I’m an exception, more than a rule. Most, with other options, would pursue those other options as soon as they feel undervalued or demoralised. Especially so if they want a better car or bigger house, and have a growing family, and rising costs. Of course they will go elsewhere, if they have the opportunity.

So the crisis looms large. It has a knock-on effect for the left-behinds, overburdened by their workload, as they take on more and more with less and less resources. The organisation demands ever more, but will not fund anything. They rely on the capital of good will alone, but that goodwill is rapidly running low. There is only so much people can take before they eventually respond, “You know what? Sod this.” Time is running out.

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