The “War for Talents” is well underway. According to a current Great Sales Force® study, 63.8% of companies in the DACH region see the low availability of qualified employees on the labour market as one of their most important sales challenges over the next 12 months.
In an interview with Matthias Wolf, the co-founder of firstbird, the leading European “employees-recruit-employees” programme, we would like to highlight alternative or supplementary approaches to classic recruiting strategies in order to provide you with possible interesting additional options for your employee search.
How do you see the “War for Talents”?
Viewed from an international perspective, there are substantial differences here: When, for instance, an HR position is advertised in India, companies get approx. 500 applications within 24 hours. We see similar developments on the American and Chinese market. In these regions, it is not so much the challenge of finding employees, but more about processing the numerous applications quickly and efficiently to find qualified candidates.
In Europe, and in particular the DACH region, the situation is more or less the opposite: As demand substantially exceeds supply, you need to be aware that in the “War for Talents” in our area of the world, it is not about finding employees who are freely available on the market but about soliciting employees from the competition. In this respect, the phrase is highly appropriate in the European context.
An impressive, current and well-known example of this is the lack of lorry drivers in the United Kingdom caused by Brexit and which now in turn has led to a lack of British bus drivers as the logistics sector is attracting new recruits with relatively high wages.
In which sectors is the “War for Talents” particularly intense?
In addition to the logistics sector, which I mentioned previously, we are currently experiencing a particularly strong demand in tourism, in the IT sector and in retail; this is happening in the latter because most retail companies are starting or have already started to boost their e-commerce teams due to the pandemic.
What would you, Mr. Wolf, recommend to companies seeking to recruit new employees? How do you find qualified employees most quickly or most easily nowadays?
When answering this question, I am not of course impartial but to keep it neutral, we recommend a combination of classic recruiting via in-house and external channels with an “employees-recruit-employees” programme.
What is the substantial difference between “classic recruiting” and an “employees-recruit-employees” programme and what are the respective benefits?
In this context, you first have to address the two large categories of qualified job candidates: There are those who are “actively seeking” and those who are “passively seeking”. The “actively seeking” are the persons who are actively looking out for a new job and in the course of this visit job portals, read job ads, etc. This applies to around 15% of qualified employees.
The substantially larger group of those “passively seeking” are the employees who have a job that they are not particularly satisfied with and are not actively seeking an alternative but are indeed ready to discuss it. Very few people know how large this group is: At around 60%, this group is namely around 3 times larger than that of those “actively seeking”.
And this is precisely where “employees-recruit-employees” programmes come into play: The “passively seeking” do not visit any relevant online portals but they talk to friends or acquaintances about their situation which leads to employees knowing of “unofficial” job candidates who are not known to conventional job portals.
Conversely, does that actually mean that 60% of the employees have already “inwardly resigned”?
I would perhaps not put that in such drastic terms but it undoubtedly means that slightly more than half of all employees are not that happy in their job and that as an employer you should definitely think about how you can ensure that employees who do a good job do not leave the company. For employees who stay at the company do not have to be recruited.
Does this mean that “employer branding” becomes drastically more important in times like this?
Employer branding has always been important, but yes, in times of particularly strong demand, it is perhaps a tad more important. Strangely, however, work is often similar to our home life: Everything that we “have” is frequently less interesting than what we “don’t have”.
I would perhaps put it like this: The most important preparation for targeted recruiting is the protection of the existing basis. The happier and more satisfied my current employees are, the easier I will find recruiting.
Are there other factors that you have to take into account in the recruiting of qualified employees? Can you give us a few examples?
One aspect that we have repeatedly noticed recently is that many countries are considerably quicker in issuing work permits in a direct comparison with Austria.
This is in particular a problem when, for instance, “hypertalents” are involved. No time should be lost here. This is in particular a problem when, for instance, “hypertalents” are involved. No time should be lost here. A top developer, for instance, who wants to change jobs, will receive a work permit in London within 3 days whereas in Austria he/she will have to wait up to 3 months for his/her Red-White-Red Card. Under such conditions, sometimes even the best recruiter or employer struggles.
If somebody is now interested in starting an “employees-recruit-employees” programme: How time-consuming is the implementation?
From the signing of the contract to the “go-live”, it usually takes 60 days, whereby the technical implementation itself and the application training only take a few hours.
What most companies need a bit of time for is the definition of a bonus system, i.e., what does the employee get for the successful referral of a candidate.