Difficulty hiring staff hits a peak with 93% of employers facing skills shortages

20 October 2022

  • Almost all employers (93%) say they have experienced skills shortages over the last 12 months, increasing from 86% in 2021, and 77% in 2020
  • Despite wider economic uncertainty, four out of five employers plan on hiring staff over the coming 12 months
  • Employers continue to increase pay to attract and retain staff, with counter offers on the rise
  • Close to three-quarters (72%) of employers would be willing to hire staff without all the necessary skills
  • Hays encourages employers to think outside the box and access untapped talent to avoid being hampered by skills shortages

The skills crisis shows no sign of slowing as employers continue to face difficulty finding the staff they need, according to a new report released by Hays, with 93% of employers say they have experienced skills shortages over the past 12 months, increasing from 86% in 2021 and 77% in 2020.

The survey, which forms part of the Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends guide 2023 and received over 13,400 responses from employers and professionals, found that employers are continuing to increase pay in order to attract and retain staff, as well as being more likely to counter offer staff who hand in their notice.

Hiring plans stay steady despite economic uncertainty

Despite wider economic uncertainty, four out of five employers (80%) intend on hiring staff over the next 12 months – matching the same number reported on in the guide released by Hays last year which was an eight-year high in hiring intentions.

There has been a slight rise in professionals planning to move jobs in the year ahead, rising to 58% from 52% last year. However, this remains low when compared to the proportion of employers expecting to hire staff.

Employers need to work to find the skills they need

Positively, in a bid to hire secure staff and develop their skills, close to three-quarters (72%) of employers would be willing to hire staff without all the necessary skills and over a fifth (22%) have increased their training budget to focus on upskilling staff. Of respondents, 20% have also re-skilled existing employees into a new position and 21% said they are actively hiring staff from other industries or professions.

The need for employers to look outside their usual recruitment pools is ever increasing as this year employers cited that skills shortages have also had a negative impact on productivity (48%), employee morale (45%) and the ability to deliver projects (40%).

Rates of pay continue to climb

According to the research, over the last year 83% of employers have increased their employees’ salaries or rates of pay, compared to just 57% who did so the year before. However, over half (54%) say this is not only to retain staff but a direct result of the rise in the cost of living. Additionally, a greater proportion of employers offered staff a performance-related bonus this year (58%) compared to last year (42%).

Counter offers are also on the rise as two-thirds (66%) of employers always or sometimes make counter offers to staff as opposed to 51% last year. Despite this, only 29% of professionals say they would be likely to take a counter offer of better pay.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK and Ireland said: “There’s no denying that it’s a challenging time for employers as they compete to keep up with the rising cost of living for staff, economic uncertainty and an unrelenting battle for talent in the market.

Employers are having to increase pay to attract talent, but also to retain their existing workforce. Although the right salary is crucial, especially at this moment in time, I’d urge employers not to neglect other factors which will attract staff to work with you and, crucially, stay. This includes offering hybrid and flexible working if you can, making sure career progression pathways are clear and supporting the wellbeing of your workforce.

Employers also need to put in the effort to attract staff for the long-term by looking at the types of talent they can access, investing in their learning and development offerings, as well as hiring for potential.”




About the research: The research is based on a survey carried out between August 22nd – September 26th 2022 and received 13,421 responses from professionals and employers across the UK



Helen Flannery
Senior PR Manager
T: 020 3040 0282
M: 07548 778306

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is the world’s leading specialist in workforce solutions and recruitment, such as RPO and MSP. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK, Germany and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2022, the Group employed c.13,000 staff operating from 253 offices in 32 countries. For the year ended 30 June 2022:

  • the Group reported net fees of £1,189.4 million and operating profit of £210.1 million;
  • the Group placed around 83,750 candidates into permanent jobs and around 250,000 people into temporary roles;
  • 16% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 36% in Rest of World (RoW);
  • the temporary placement business represented 55% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 45% of net fees;
  • Technology is the Group’s largest division, with 26% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (14%) and Construction & Property (11%), are the next largest
  • Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA
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