The February 2022 figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that not only has unemployment continued to fall, but also that the number of job vacancies rose to a record high of almost 1.3 million (for the quarter November 2021-January 2022). While such a buoyant jobs market is a sign that the UK economy is bouncing back post-pandemic, great language candidates are still in scarce supply as evidenced by a falling number of applications. So, what can employers do to source the language skills they need and attract highly sought-after top talent in a candidate-driven market?
Salary is key
Clearly, with inflation and energy prices rising very rapidly, real wages are taking a hit and so organisations looking to hire high quality applicants must table competitive job offers. And that has to start with salary, which is still the prime motivator for candidates looking to move roles. Including salary in job ads is a proven way to increase the number of applications – indeed the government recently launched a pay transparency pilot scheme which also aims to stop employers asking about previous salary history so that women, for example, are better able to negotiate improved salaries.
But we also know that monetary rewards are just one part of the overall package. Candidates will also consider the benefits on offer and how they can achieve a better work-life balance. Mental health is key, so examples of initiatives and programmes that support worker wellbeing will be a big selling point. The other crucial area, especially following the success of hybrid working during the pandemic, is of course flexible working. Employees now want a mix of office and home working so those companies enforcing a full-time return to the workplace will struggle to hire the best people.
Language jobs that invest in career development
A seamless candidate experience cannot be over-emphasised. From the very first contact you have to the last, you must always remember that you’re dealing with humans and their feelings. Make sure you communicate clearly what the next steps are, ensure the application process is as easy as possible to navigate as a user and move quickly to the offer stage – candidates don’t want to be left in limbo and they won’t hesitate to take up offers from your competitor if they’re quicker off the mark. Also don’t ignore feedback as you want to avoid any negative comments about your company on social media.
The other key element that needs to be emphasised when trying to stand out in a tough recruitment market are the opportunities for learning that are on offer. Make sure you talk about training programmes in your job ad – potential candidates want to feel that your organisation will be investing in their career development. For example, do you offer your employees study support or an annual amount they can spend on external courses to upskill? Does your company hold an ‘Investors in People’ accreditation (these exist for wellbeing and apprenticeships too)? Your commitment to their development will also be reciprocated with increased loyalty and improved retention.
A strong employer brand
Your employer brand says a lot about you as a company, your core values, vision and purpose. If candidates don’t know too much about your organisation, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will hunt out information to find out more about your culture and working environment. Does your website talk about diversity and inclusion initiatives, your environmental, social and governance (ESG) successes or charity work? Have you won any awards for being a ‘great place to work’? What are current and previous employees saying about you on review sites such as Glassdoor?
Given today’s candidate short jobs market, enticing the best language candidates to come and work for you is increasingly difficult. And while top language talent will consider many different aspects of your job proposal before they take you up on your offer should they get that far, there are some things you cannot afford to ignore, especially if you want to hire from the new ‘zoomer’ cohort.
Attracting top language talent – 5 areas to focus on
- Money matters: include salary details in your job ads
- Employee happiness: flexible working and wellbeing are key benefits
- Candidate experience: is your application process fit for purpose?
- Career development: highlight training and learning opportunities
- Brand awareness: evidence of D&I and ESG initiatives is crucial
Want to know how we can help you find the best language talent? Contact us today!