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‘Great resignation’ is stifling county’s mid-market firms

'A company's overall employer brand and offering has never been more important'

The ‘Great Resignation’ is having a significant effect on mid-market firms as more employees leave for pastures new and employers struggle to find the talent they need to replace them.

New research from business adviser Grant Thornton UK has found that more than 80% of companies are experiencing unusually high attrition rates. Half are also battling tio replace their lost staff and to recruit for the new roles created to support their growth plans.

Nearly two thirds (62%) are offering higher salaries for new roles and a similar number (60%) confirmed they are offering pay rises or bonuses in a bid to retain their existing people.

But attracting and retaining the necessary skills is an ongoing challenge and many businesses are now looking to government for support. 30% of respondents said incentives for employers to invest in skills attraction and development should be a top priority for policymakers.

“With job vacancies reaching record highs in November, the ‘Great Resignation’ has made the fight for talent among organisations fierce,” said Sue Knight, Grant Thornton partner and Midlands practice leader. “As our research shows, mid-sized businesses in the East Midlands are doing all they can to attract new people but the last two years have had a significant impact on what people prioritise, resulting in some rethinking their career path or role.”

Effectively competing in the talent market also requires looking beyond just salary, with jobseekers increasingly taking the wider employee offering into consideration. The research finds that the mid-market is responding to this, with 60% offering flexible working opportunities as standard and 70% are currently reviewing their employee benefits package to make it more competitive.

“The rise in hybrid working has allowed people to achieve a better work-life balance

while still providing the opportunity for collaboration and human connection in the office,” said Ms Knight. “Employers who can continue to offer this flexibility will be much better placed than those who do not. The fundamental change to ways of working also means that it is vital for organisations to ensure they have effective people managers, as the old adage that people leave their manager, not their employer, is still often the case.”

Many businesses in Northamptonshire and the wider East Midlands are also willing to adopt innovative new working styles in a bid for talent. More than half said they would be likely to trial a four-day working week, in line with the current pilot in the UK, in their business.

Ms Knight said: “Today’s job seekers consider a much broader picture when deciding where to work and a company’s overall employer brand and offering has never been more important. People are placing much more emphasis on aspects of the employee proposition such as the long-term development opportunities, the workplace culture, an employer’s focus on wellbeing as well as inclusion and diversity.

“A business’ success ultimately hinges on its people and with the job market highly competitive, looking beyond the normal recruitment pathways is crucial. Businesses should be challenging themselves to consider whether it is possible to recruit from a wider talent pool or to develop and retrain their existing people into new roles to fill potential skills gaps.

“Apprenticeships, for example, can be a very effective way of achieving both goals, while also increasing diversity within an organisation.”