In the third and final part of our exclusive online series, Peter Jones of Foyne Jones Recruitment Group, looks at the latest pressure points impacting employment in the builders’ merchant industry and what can be done to change the narrative…
Let’s be honest, there are many challenges that builders’ merchants are facing right now in terms of recruitment however, sometimes it’s a question of leaning into change in order to optimise results for your business and its people… but where to start?
Firstly, take comfort in the fact you are not alone, as many businesses are feeling the pressure right now. Research from the British Chambers of Commerce indicates that more than 5,000 UK businesses of all sectors and sizes are facing record high difficulties in hiring new staff, with the largest percentage tied to the manufacturing sectors. If we consider how this is affecting the merchanting industry, then the numbers suggest that 71% are finding huge difficulties in onboarding skilled workers and so making our industry an attractive proposition will ensure we capture the career-appetites of the next generation.
I recognise that not every applicant is the ideal candidate with the right level of experience, but if you’re receiving a low response to job adverts then perhaps you need to look at how you’re communicating the opportunity, and how visible you are to current jobseekers. The last thing you want is a no show to an interview because they didn’t have all the facts, and as ghosting has now become mainstream in the workplace as well as in our social lives, ‘the disappearing candidate’ is more common than you think and Forbes agrees.
Don’t sell yourself short
Remember, lack of communication is the biggest frustration for job seekers, so make sure they’re aware you see them as a priority. We often assume that as a business we are well known locally (and in some cases nationally) and therefore, shouldn’t have to sell ourselves but are you really disclosing all the features and benefits of joining your company prior to interview? How about sharing the salary in the advert itself?
You’ll be surprised how this can very easily speed up the decision process for many jobseekers and provide you with assurances that they are keen to know more and follow through with all future commitments.
In my opinion, the merchant and construction sales sectors can open up huge opportunities in buying, logistics, finance, sales, marketing, HR and technical support, along with a host of benefits that many new recruits are simply not aware of.
Our stars of tomorrow yearn for independence and a home of their own, and so financial freedom is a massive motivation. Be upfront about basic salaries, as this, along with earning potential and associated benefits should be included in EVERY job advertisement.
In my opinion, the merchant and construction sales sectors can open up huge opportunities in buying, logistics, finance, sales, marketing, HR and technical support, along with a host of benefits that many new recruits are simply not aware of. Easy entry with opportunities to grow, merchanting also opens the door to many in-demand specialist skills such as bricks, timber, ground working, plant hire and tools, kitchens and bathrooms, to name just a few.
The only way is up
By working closely with our clients, we’re able to learn a lot about the industries we serve and one of the core strengths of the merchant industry is that its leaders are promoted from within. Just recently, I visited eight branch managers all of which began working in the yard. Now what other industry can boast of a CEO starting out his or her career in the yard and driving forklifts? A truth which needs celebrating!
These evergreen markets are crying out for committed professionals and so we must find ways to reduce the skills gap and I believe this starts with promoting our industry as a lifelong career choice with endless opportunities. Is this coming through in your recruitment process? Are you making it easy for people to find you?
The last thing we want is for these ongoing people shortages to damage businesses and the economy further, and while investment in training is part of the solution, you need to consider the overall cost implications first versus the long-term benefits.
If you show that you care about your people, you will keep them. It’s that simple. Be honest about what your company stands for and how you want it to be seen.
Recruitment is one of the fastest-moving industries in the world. A specialist team which knows its salt will predict future trends a good five to ten years ahead of the curve. You need to shape the future of your business around your future employees and customers as you can’t have one without the other!
‘Grow with the flow’
In fact, the biggest pressure point in 2023 is achieving a healthy balance between work, home and mindfulness regardless of pay grade and so don’t overlook how important this is in your business. If you show that you care about your people, you will keep them. It’s that simple. Be honest about what your company stands for and how you want it to be seen.
If you think about what we expect as customers, we already know about what we need to offer and communicate as employers. It’s all about keeping promises. Doing our best. Having fun.
It’s time for us to ‘grow with the flow’ and promote a growth mindset within business, for all people. Don’t let the pressure win, as everyone is together stronger.
Visit www.foynejones.com for more recruitment expertise.