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Tapping into the London talent market – advice for clients

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Hiring in London will give you access to an incredibly busy talent market. The country’s capital city is an international hub for many industries – including the tech, finance, legal and creative sectors. Its reputation is a real draw for ambitious Candidates who want to work at the headquarters of some of the fast-growing companies globally.

Within the capital, you’ll find many experienced workers. In the City of London, 70 per cent of people are employed in high-skilled jobs, compared with 60 per cent across London and 47 per cent in the UK. The difficulty is, of course, in attracting these types of Candidates when there are so many other enticing offers available to them.

Recent data indicates that there’s been a real boom in the UK hiring market – with the number of Candidate applications per job rising by 14.9 per cent from 2018 to 2019. Within London, there’s been a 22.9 per cent increase in the number of people applying for advertised roles. These figures are certainly encouraging for those recruiting within the city.

Nevertheless, it can be hard for smaller businesses in London to attract talent when they’re competing with big names and company brands. In order to secure bright young undergraduates and senior Employees with the right expertise, it’s imperative to invest in your Employer brand, as well as to build your reputation as a great place to work.

According to LinkedIn, 75 per cent of Candidates will look at an Employer’s brand before applying for a job. Therefore, having an attractive careers page on your website, as well as a strong presence on social media, is imperative. Whatever stage you’re at, it’s worth taking a look at your competitors. What are they offering to attract the best people in the market, and how can you improve your offering based on this?

Of course, London is a highly diverse city. For Employers, this has a huge advantage as we know that diverse teams are able to perform better, solving problems faster and more effectively. So, when you’re hiring, make sure that you include your inclusion and diversity policy within the job advert.

Above all, to recruit in London, you’ll need to move fast. The best Candidates don’t stay on the market for long. New technologies are really helping to speed up the recruitment process, and many firms within the city have been early adopters of this. From Applicant Tracking Systems to online interviews through Skype and other video platforms, it’s likely that many of your competitors will use these to swiftly locate and secure talent.

If you’re struggling to find the perfect person for a new role, it’s worth considering whether you can find someone outside of London who might be attracted by the chance to work in the capital. Job location can be a big consideration for Candidates. Research suggests that, when you look at the whole of the UK, Londoners value salary the least – placing a greater emphasis on geography, work/life balance and flexible working.

Knowing where you can find talented Employees, and what is most important to them, is key. It’ll help you decide where to base yourself as a company and how to frame your job offer. Interestingly, several major businesses are deciding to re-locate outside of London. The BBC will move at least two thirds of its staff outside of the capital by 2027, and Goldman Sachs is considering moving half of its technology jobs to either Birmingham or Manchester.

While this is an important trend to note, there’s no doubt London will continue to remain an important location for growing businesses who want to attract and retain highly skilled Candidates. Figures show that, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit last year, professional job vacancies rose by 16.7 per cent. While other cities may feel the effects of economic uncertainty, the capital remains a real stronghold for businesses.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.

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