CNBC - article on staff shortages

ended 19. October 2021

A journalist at CNBC is writing an article for its website about labour shortages in the U.K. and wants some quick reaction from small businesses to the following two Qs:

  • Are you finding it difficult to find staff?
  • Amazon is offering new starters joining bonuses of up to £3,000. Do moves like these from big corporations make it more difficult for smaller businesses to compete for staff?

Keep your responses short and sweet: just 2-3 sentences should do it. Deadline is tight. This alert will self-destruct in an hour. 

8 responses from the Newspage community

"We are finding it harder to recruit housekeeping staff than Boris does keeping his hair under control. In Salcombe, golden handshakes were being touted at the start of the summer to lure workers into the hospitality industry. It didn’t work. Now hourly rates are dramatically on the rise as we clamour to keep hold of the staff we still have. £3k is something we can’t compete with, but free pasties and cream teas for employees is quite the hook."
"We are seeing increased pressures across the board with colleague recruitment, especially warehousing and packing roles. As a small business we can't afford 'signing on bonuses' for short-term contracts and I understand why if you were looking for a job you'd take the cash because I would. The bonuses are often 1 or 2 months' wages, which covers the terms we are looking to recruit for so essentially paying double time all the time."
"A quick fix ‘hiring bonus’ will not fix what is wrong in the current ‘labour shortage’ crisis. Why? Because there isn’t a labour shortage, people just don’t want to go back to the status quo of 2019. Our nation has changed, people demand transparency, flexibility and a company that they are proud to work for. Until businesses catch up with this fact and invest in its people, cultures and values properly, their hiring issues will continue."
"Owning a hair and beauty salon it has become impossible to recruit qualified and experienced staff. Many left the industry during Covid, not able to survive the constant lockdowns, or not wanting to deal with the pressure once the industry reopened. Many found it better to get a job with little pressure, welcome incentives and Monday to Friday working. It worries me where the industry is going if more and more people leave to seek other opportunities as, although we invest a lot of time and money into employee training and incentives, we cannot compete with the likes of Amazon for their £3000 welcome bonuses."
"Shortages are so bad that the UK's army of temporary workers, the traditional back-stop for businesses in need, cannot meet the demand. It's incredibly competitive, and many small businesses, the backbone of the economy, simply don't have pots of money to throw at the problem. But money is not the be all and end all. It's more than that - people want to work with businesses whose ethics and values they agree with, firms that have a positive impact on the wider world. Employers who are creative in how they value, support and nurture their staff, both permanent and temporary, are the ones that will succeed in attracting the talent they need."
"Amazon has clearly spotted a gap in the market and rather than rewarding existing employees, they're passing a widely used method of referral fees onto their new hires directly. For many years, recruiting via word of mouth has been one of the most successful attraction methods for employers and many have been rewarding employees for these referrals, too. However, the most I've ever seen is £1,000 per successful hire. "We are constantly asking employers to consider the impact on their business if they were unable to recruit and very quickly, whether it's a good or bad hire, they're able to identify loss of revenue. This is often the reason why employers will measure their time-to-hire, recognising the anticipated cost to the business if it takes them a long time to hire. "My advice for small businesses is to stay true to your values, shout loudly about your successes with authenticity and then the right people will come. Not forgetting to work with a professional services business that knows the talent market inside out, that can help you plan for the future too."
"We have always struggled to recruit good staff, but once we find them we have an excellent retention rate. The real issue for us is the lack of skills in the market. Amazon offering recruitment processes and expensive training programmes will attract a different type of person than someone who wants to work for a small company."
"Amazon throwing a recruitment net out with £3,000 attached to it is likely to attract the wrong type of fish. As for us, we could barely afford tins of tuna as staff recruitment incentives."