From talent shortages to budget cuts, public & not for profit sector hiring managers are feeling the pressure. They desperately need to hire staff but are constantly being faced with market and organisational-driven challenges along the way. As it is, current recruitment processes are failing to help public & not for profit sector employers connect with and retain the talent required to maintain service provision in their sectors and communities.
And so, we are faced with what at first glance seems a rather bleak dilemma: the public & not for profit sector has a statutory duty to deliver certain services, however, in this climate do they have the resources to be able to do this? If not, what has to go first? Money, hiring targets or services?
Personally, I don’t feel the situation is quite as dire as it looks. With a more thoughtful, holistic approach to recruitment, the public & not for profit sector can position itself as an employer of choice and attract and retain the staff it needs without breaking the bank.
Current recruiting challenges facing public & not for profit employers
The current recruitment market in the public & not for profit sector is moving quickly, making it hard to forecast.
My main prediction is one of certain uncertainty. Some might call this ‘stagnation’ although this doesn’t quite describe the pragmatism and agility that will be required from employers to cope with the coming challenges.
We have seen high numbers of vacancies, but I believe this will slow as the cost-of-living crisis deepens and workers re-evaluate their plans to leave the sector, choosing stability despite pressures on employers surrounding renumeration. There could be layoffs ahead, however, I don’t anticipate those roles returning to the market in the same guise.
This uncertainty will also influence the number of candidates available, exacerbating the existing skills shortage. Our recent survey of public & not for profit sector hiring managers showed that 70% were still struggling to hire skilled talent.
Three ways public & not for profit sector employers can overcome hiring challenges
Despite these challenges there are some concrete steps I feel public & not for profit sector employers and hiring managers can take to build a more sustainable talent pipeline in the long term and hire for desperately needed skills and expertise in the short term.
First up, harness the power of contract and temporary engagements.
Engaging temporary and contract workers can enable public & not for profit sector organisations to meet payroll targets but still access much needed skills and talent. Morgan Law’s own Public & Not For Profit Sector Recruitment survey found that 88% of hiring managers felt that they would be turn to specialist contractors in the next 12 months to plug skills gaps, particularly in fields such as accounting, HR, and technology.
Whilst this might feel like a stop-gap measure, I would argue that it benefits employers in more ways than one. Yes, you get short-term access to expertise, but thanks to the flexibility of contract staffing you are only paying for skillsets when you need them. You can use those contractors to bolster skill building among permanent staff members as well.
Because of this, I predict we’ll be seeing a bounce in the temp market in 2023 and the increased use of off-payroll temps in the public & not for profit sector.
Secondly, public & not for profit sector employers must invest in their current workforce’s professional development.
Over the past two to three years public resources have been so tight there has been little appetite from employers to invest in development. Because the public & not for profit sector has been fighting major fires, the attitude at senior levels has been “let’s just see what happens.” As a result, the average public & not for profit sector employee has lost over a years’ worth of career and professional development progress.
Given that it’s now clear that the cost-of-living crisis is here to stay, I’d say that the “wait and see” attitude is no longer sustainable. Employers must get back on track when it comes to professional development. Eight out of ten public & not for profit sector workers say learning and development is central to job satisfaction and retention. Digital and leadership skills are the most popular. There is clearly huge potential amongst workers to be built on and multi-skilling, training and development are the ideal solutions.
Not to mention that offering training and development opportunities as part of your benefits package is a great way to build you reputation as an organisation that values its employees. If you are serious as a public & not for profit sector employer about your employer brand, then offering career pathways and development opportunities is one of the best things you can do right now.
If you are worried about cost, then it’s worth thinking about how you can build development into other aspects of your Employee Value Proposition. Development can even be part of a professional wellbeing package that encompasses flexible working, assistance programmes and other benefits.
We ourselves have recently partnered with a local homelessness charity, The Connection at St Martins, to give our employees the chance to volunteer in a way that complements their career ambitions, development and helps build skills whilst giving back.
I am also an advocate of the cost-effective new technologies that can harness the powers of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to support learning transformation journeys and accelerate behavioural change at scale.
Finally, change your expectations of recruiters and what we can do for you.
In today’s challenging climate, a public & not for profit sector recruitment partner should offer more than just basic hiring services. Sure, getting people into roles is important but that approach alone is not enough for organisations to survive and thrive in difficult times.
Expectations are changing. Many public & not for profit employers see the value in a more holistic, consultative approach to the recruiter-client relationship. Most importantly, public & not for profit sector employers see the value in a partnership with an established, highly networked and experienced consultancy that can help navigate through the rapidly evolving hiring landscape.
This consultative approach, that offers support with more advanced talent acquisition techniques, can help you manage both sides of the equation. Ensuring you are filling roles with high quality, skilled candidates and taking steps to nurture and grow your talent pipeline.
That’s what we hope to offer here at Morgan Law. Public & not for profit sector organisations can be assured that we will listen to you and be honest with you. We will seek to deliver your message to the market and present you with candidates that fit that message.
Founding partner of Morgan Law, David Morgan, is responsible for strategic development and involved in all areas of the business. With over 20 years’ professional experience as a specialist public & not for profit sector recruiter, he ensures Morgan Law’s expert teams continually provide excellent recruitment experiences for both clients and candidates in the public and not-for-profit sectors.