How bad is UK skills shortage? 72% of HM Govt vacancies go begging

When you think about the UK’s skills shortage, you don’t think about the Government struggling to fill lucrative ministerial roles.

Instead, your mind wanders to IT, health and construction engineering. They’re the traditional industries into which we, as a country, import labour en masse.

Heck, the government even has a HSMP dedicated to bringing in foreign nationals. Should unfilled UK vacancies remain and immigrants receive support from their sponsor/employer, they, as visa-holders, can then obtain ILR.

That status achieved, the visa-holder then has access to a myriad financial solutions to help them remain in the UK on a permanent basis. Yep, immigration of skilled workers has created a vibrant marketplace of its own, let alone the industries the candidates themselves arrive to fulfil…

…not that you’d tell by looking at the number of vacancies that went unfilled in Government in the last fiscal year.

Departments in crisis: DWP and the Foreign Office fail miserably

Bullhorn requested a ton of data from the government under the freedom of information act. They were looking to find the answers to two questions that would help them visualise their own data for this year’s UK Recruitment Trends:

  1. how much did the government spend on recruitment in 2014/15?
  2. what percentage of vacancies did the government manage to fill based on their recruitment tactics?

Some of the stats are astounding. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office? Excluding internships, they posted 74 positions in the 2014/15 fiscal year. They filled…
…wait for it…
…drumroll, please…
…three! Ta-dah!!

Yep, you read that right. Three of the positions the Foreign Office posted they filled, the other 71 going begging. A conversion rate of 4%!

To be fair, that was an exception. You have to jump to the DWP to get the next worst result, by percentage. But the scale will astound you.

In 2014/15, the DWP posted 7,067 jobs, by far the largest sector in the report. It filled only 1,518 of those positions. As a percentage, that’s just over a fifth or 21%.

Of the high scorers, only Northern Irish and Scottish Offices filled their quota, managing to appoint candidates for all of their 18 and 1 posts respectively. And both the Dept. for Health and that of the Dept. for the Environment, Food and Rural affairs achieved 91%, filling 73 of 80 and 53 of 58 vacancies respectively.

Is HM Govt. pottering in the wrong garden?

In hindsight, Bullhorn’s Peter Linas hinted that choosing traditional routes for accessing qualified candidates may be the government’s downfall. Candidates pre-registered in recruitment CRM systems and those active on social media provide the top qualified sources for recruiters, based on Bullhorn’s report.

That last point goes to show that marketing yourself as a brand isn’t an activity you should get involved in just to appease IR35. An active social profile is not only a fun way to network, but it’s a real route to the job market. Perhaps it will take the Ministry of Magic to remove the invisibility cloak and show HM Govt the store of tech wizards just waiting to be discovered there.

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