The latest Labour Market Outlook survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and The Adecco Group continues to forecast growth in the nationwide demand for labour.

In the first quarter of the year, the net employment balance – a measure of the proportion of employers who expect to increase staff levels in the next quarter versus those who anticipate a decrease in staff levels – increased to +26 from +16.

This is the highest that the measure has been since the first survey back in the winter of 2012.

With such buoyancy, it's not surprising that employers are encountering challenging recruitment conditions, with three in five (61 per cent) of employers surveyed reporting that they are struggling to fill at least some of their vacancies.

In the war for talent, employers can feel an increased pressure to offer higher wages to compete and yet, in a survey conducted by Investors in People in 2017, work enjoyment, good benefits, and employer reputation ranked almost as highly as competitive pay in top considerations for prospective employees.

Claire McLean, of Realise HR in Cumbria, said: "Yes, wages are important, however, that alone will not help employers recruit and retain the best.

“Employers have an opportunity to look at what else makes them a great place to work and promote this as part of the recruitment process. I truly believe that there are two areas to focus on that will allow companies to beat off the competition for talent.

“Offering flexible working will immediately engage a wider pool of candidates as well as having a leadership style that promotes career development in a supportive working environment.”

Martin Norris, recruitment manager at CN Group, added: “We should also consider the different and creative ways we can communicate these benefits to different segments of the labour market.

“Innovative storytelling can be a major driver of candidate engagement and can have a tangible influence on your brand as an employer. By providing candidates with an authentic narrative as to what they can expect as your next employee, they have the opportunity to connect with your company's culture and values on an emotional level and make a decision about whether they would be a good fit for the organisation.

“By leveraging different elements of your employment package and getting creative with how this is communicated, employers have the opportunity to establish a sustainable way to stand out from the crowd without always having to refer to financial incentives.”

To discuss your organisation's recruitment needs, call Martin Norris, CN Group recruitment manager, on 01228 612249 or email


Claire McLean set up Realise HR after more than 17 years in HR, within financial services, retail, manufacturing, construction and engineering industries.

Claire has worked for global organisations right through to smaller family owned businesses in advisory, management and specialist roles.