You’re securing the right talent but are they sticking around?

This month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported the UK’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest since 1974. While falling unemployment levels is welcome news, there remains a huge talent shortage across many sectors.

The ONS revealed that job vacancies rose to a record 1,295,000 between February and April 2022, an increase of 33,700 from the previous quarter and 499,300 up from the pre-coronavirus pandemic level from January to March 2020.

It means that, for the first time on record, there are more job vacancies than people unemployed, with director of economic statistics at the ONS, Darren Morgan, commenting: “Since the start of the pandemic, around half a million more people have completely disengaged from the labour market.”

While reports of private sector pay increasing by 6.1% is positive, it fails to keep pace with inflation rising by 9% in the last 12 months. Furthermore, an upwards movement in wages is primarily attributed to high bonuses in the finance sector and an increasing number of companies offering sign-on bonuses to entice new workers, particularly in construction.

Sign-on bonuses have become more common since the pandemic, particularly after 2021’s Great Resignation, which saw thousands of workers voluntarily leave their roles for fresh opportunities offering better pay and a healthier work-life balance. However, such incentives are unsustainable and only accessible to larger organisations with deep pockets.

As the talent gap widens, more employers are focusing their efforts on talent attraction and exploring what benefits and perks they can offer to stand out from the competition. As a result, attention has shifted away from onboarding and retention, which is having a detrimental impact.

Recruitment industry insiders estimate that around one in three hires leaves their positions during probation. The reasons for pivoting so quickly vary, with some workers citing a lack of training and support and others claiming the role was mis-sold from the outset. 

Greater efforts must be made to extend the candidate’s experience beyond the offer to retain crucial skills. Here, we look at how employers can make sure that, once they’ve secured a candidate, they keep hold of them. 


Are your job descriptions accurate? It sounds simple enough, but as organisations battle for talent, there’s a tendency to omit the realities of a role and exaggerate perks to make the job more appealing in a crowded market. While you will undoubtedly attract more applicants, today’s candidate-driven market means new hires won’t hesitate to step away and look for something else even if they have accepted a role and started working with you. As ever, honesty is the best policy. 

When it comes to pay and benefits, have your existing employees been brought in line with any increases you’ve put in place to attract new talent? It’s crucial that everyone performing the same or similar roles to those you’re recruiting are equally compensated or you’ll risk losing them. It’s no good getting new talent but losing existing employees in the process.


In a candidate-short market, employers are forced to wait longer to secure the skills they need. It’s, therefore, understandable that when they do eventually fill a role, they want the new employee to hit the ground running and make up for any lost productivity. However, that doesn’t mean you should cut out or shorten established onboarding processes. 

Yes, it might be frustrating for a new worker to enter into a month-long onboarding programme and, yes, employees who have been picking up extra responsibilities while you recruit may not be thrilled at the prospect of investing time to train someone, but it’s essential to ensure new hires have all of the tools they need to get off to the best possible start. 


Like onboarding, new employees require additional support to help them get acquainted with the role, team and corporate culture. Workplaces operating at a skills deficit are more likely to overlook new starters, expecting them to slot in and get on. This is particularly prevalent in hybrid and remote working positions. Buddy or mentoring systems are effective in helping employees feel welcome and comfortable enough to ask questions or raise concerns about any aspect of the role and request additional support in certain areas.

Looking to secure and retain the right talent? 

Our team of recruitment experts is on-hand to help you hire the right people and retain them too. For a confidential chat about your talent needs, contact PRS on 0207 553 5660 or email

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