Two of the biggest challenges facing today’s companies are supply chain disruptions and the ongoing global labour shortage. In fact, recent studies show that 87% of global employers are already having trouble acquiring the talent they need or anticipate having these challenges in the future. 

Why is there a labour shortage? The answer to that question is very complex. The global ageing population, workers’ desire for higher wages and the increased demand for tech-related skills certainly play a role in today’s talent shortage. COVID-19 is also a contributing factor. While the labour shortage didn’t start with the global pandemic, it did help to accelerate it. 

To combat these challenges and get ahead of your competitors, it’s important to have a plan in place sooner, rather than later.  

To help with this process, we have developed a list of 11 strategies to help you solve the labor shortag. You can also download our action list below:

An illustration of different people

11 things you can do to overcome the labour shortage

download the guide

1. invest in employee training

Like it or not, both the skills gap and the labour shortage are not likely to end any time soon. In fact, it’s very likely that the labour shortage and skills gap will continue to intensify until at least the end of the decade.

For example, the McKinsey Global Institute predicted in 2017 that up to 375 million global workers may need to learn new skills and change occupations by 2030. This firm also admits that because of the pandemic, the number of displaced workers will increase by an additional 25% by 2030.

As technology and automation continue to advance, it’s quite likely that it may be impossible for your company to acquire the necessary tech-related skills through recruitment efforts alone.

The best way to overcome this problem is to invest in equipping your current workers with the skills the company needs. By upskilling and reskilling your current workforce, your company can acquire the specific skills it needs to implement emerging technologies.

While traditional, classroom lessons as well as in-house programmes, such as mentorships and apprenticeships, are still very effective training tools, today’s employers can also utilise online training modules that allow workers to learn at their own pace. Online programmes and digital tools can also train a greater number of employees in a shorter period of time. For example, our Randstad BrightFit technology can evaluate your employees’ strengths and weaknesses as well as provide training recommendations.

2. utilise HR technology

Studies show that 46% of employers around the world are now using some type of HR SaaS platform. If your company has yet to make this type of investment or if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your HR technology solutions, now is the time.

The right technology can improve your recruitment processes by automatically filtering through applications, sending automated responses to applicants, utilising AI for candidate matching, automating the reference checking process and conducting video interviews, along with other features. For example, our Randstad Relevate tech stack can assist with the talent search process, reference checking and predictive job matching.

HR technology can also assist with workforce management and improve communication throughout the organisation. Maximising the use of HR technology can help your company improve its recruitment and employee retention efforts.

Woman looking to the right while holding a tablet
Woman looking to the right while holding a tablet

3. hire inexperienced workers

With the ability to find skilled labour becoming more and more difficult, companies must focus on training within. Ultimately, this transition to in-house training will change the type of candidates your company needs. Instead of solely searching for candidates that already have the skills you want, your company should also look for candidates that you can train.

Start by searching for candidates with desirable soft skills, such as problem-solving, adaptability, critical thinking and communication skills, that indicate they’re good learners. Not only will loosening your candidate criteria expand your overall talent pool, but it can ensure you hire candidates that can grow with the company.

4. use talent analytics

In the age of big data, it’s important for your company to not only monitor labour trends, but also make use of its internal data. According to the 2021 Talent Trends Report by Randstad Sourceright, talent analytics is one of the top 10 areas employers should focus on.This report continues by recognising how data visualisation tools can help employers assess their current workforce and prepare for its future talent needs.

Before gathering and monitoring data, it’s important to start by understanding the specific data points your company wants to track. It is recommended that you  include metrics on turnover rates, recruitment costs, retention rates and absenteeism. Leveraging and understanding which data you already have available and which systems and tools you are using today are also important starting points.

5. update your employee value proposition

If there’s one thing that shifted significantly during the pandemic, it’s workers’ expectations. The pandemic highlighted the value of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. So, while salaries remain the number one motivator for changing jobs, according to our latest Randstad Employer Brand Research report, the ability to maintain the optimal work-life balance came in as a close second.

Today’s employees don’t just need the right salaries. They’re also looking for other non financial benefits, such as flexibility, mental health support or more liberal family leave policies. It’s important for employers to recognise this shift in workers’ expectations and to take action by adapting their employee value proposition (EVP) to align it with these new post-pandemic employee demands.

An illustration of different people

11 things you can do to overcome the labour shortage

download the guide

6. develop a strong compensation and benefits package

It’s crucial to develop a strong compensation package that goes hand-in-hand with the company’s EVP. If your company has not evaluated its employee compensation and benefits package within the last 12 months, you should do so now. So much has changed since the pandemic, it’s crucial to ensure your compensation offerings are still competitive.Furthermore, global inflation is impacting workers in both developed and developing countries. It’s only natural for employees to want wages to rise with inflation.

For example, significant wage increases were seen in various countries, such as Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy and Canada. Wage increases were also seen in industries facing intense labour shortages, such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and hospitality. Fortunately, recruitment companies, such as Randstad, conduct salary research in various markets to help you make the necessary adjustments. 

You also need to readjust your benefits package to meet workers’ shifting expectations. As mentioned above, today’s workers want more benefits that allow them to maintain a healthy work-life balance as well as safe working conditions, mental health support, employee training and career advancement opportunities. Creating a benefits package that highlights today’s worker’s expectations can help your company stand out from the competition and attract the talent it needs.

7. focus on building a diverse workforce

Our research shows that 68% of business leaders already have a diversity plan in place and another 27% are in the process of developing one. Why such a high demand for diversity in the workplace? First, we know that diversity can increase creativity and productivity in the workplace. Secondly, recruiting a workforce with a diverse set of skills, attributes, backgrounds and experiences extends your company's talent pool, which can ultimately improve hiring outcomes.

Finally, workers want more diversity in the workplace, especially younger workers. For example, in a recent survey, 74% of Millennials thought the companies with diverse workforces were more innovative than those without. Building a diverse workforce has the power to push your company forward in an economy that is becoming more and more globalised.

8. leverage contingent talent

Studies show that more than 3-in-4 employers are already using flexible staffing solutions, such as contingent or temporary workers. This demand is only expected to increase as the skills shortage intensifies in the upcoming years. There are, however, many benefits of utilising contingent workers. For example, contingent talent allow your company to scale up or scale down its workforce to meet fluctuating production demands. When done right, leveraging a contingent workforce can help your company save money and increase production.

The trick is to have an effective plan in place to successfully manage a team of contingent workers. There should be a process in place for everything from hiring to training to shift scheduling of contingent workers. At Randstad, we have years of experience managing continent talent and can provide the ongoing support your company needs.

9 interview question tips for building surveyor jobs
9 interview question tips for building surveyor jobs

9. enhanced employee engagement

With the current labour shortage expected to continue over the next several years, many employers are prioritising employee retention. The goal of this strategy is to reduce turnover within the company so there will be fewer vacant positions to fill. According to a recent Microsoft survey, over 40% of workers around the world are considering changing jobs. 

This research shows that employers must actively take steps to entice its workers to stay. Research shows a direct link between retention and enhanced employee engagement. In fact, one study shows that highly engaged companies realise a 59% lower turnover rate.

Techniques, such as a recognition and rewards programme, regular check-ins, empathy, and strong and transparent communication are all known to help increase engagement in the workforce. Developing a strong employee engagement strategy can not only improve retention rates, but it can also reduce absenteeism and increase profitability.

10. redeploy your workforce

The harsh reality is that acquiring the right skilled talent is likely to become more challenging in the years to come. One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is to focus on the internal mobility of workers. In fact, a recent study shows that typically 60% of a company’s open roles can be filled by its current workforce. Redeployment of the workforce, however, can only happen with the right upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

It’s important to have a clear and transparent process in place for career growth and advancement within the company. You can also use an array of digital tools to identify which workers are a good fit for various open roles within the company. For example, our Randstad BrightFit technology, as mentioned above, can help your company assess worker’s abilities and recommend training options. 

11. partner with a HR solutions company

Partnering with an HR solutions company can provide additional support to help your company acquire and retain the talent it needs to recover and move forward in a post-pandemic market.

For example, at Randstad, we can give you company instant access to our vast database of prescreened candidates and help you filter through these applicants to find ones that match your set criteria. For companies with a large volume workforce, we can even handle the talent management process to improve employee communication, training and engagement throughout the workplace.

Additionally, we provide you with talent insights and access to our HR Relevate tech stack to streamline their HR processes.

For more information, download our summary of effective tips for overcoming the labour shortage.

about the author

travis gibson

general manager - industrial & inhouse services - qld, nsw & vic

Travis works in a core leadership role at Randstad specialising in In-House Solutions. With over seven years of experience in the recruitment industry across In-House based solutions, Large Commercial Clients, Small to Medium Enterprises, Local Councils, State Departments and federal contracts; Travis offers our In-House division clients a strong level of knowledge and insight. His passion for WHS and the integration of HR technology into his recruitment processes ensure that all of his candidates and clients have the best experience possible.

the latest workforce insights delivered to your inbox.

sign up