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  • Almost all employers in Scotland (94%) say they have experienced skills shortages over the last 12 months
  • Close to three-quarters (71%) of employers in Scotland would be willing to hire staff without all the necessary skills
  • Despite wider economic uncertainty, over four out of five employers in Scotland plan on hiring staff over the coming 12 months
  • Employers encouraged to promote Scotland as a choice location to attract talent

Almost three-quarters of employers in Scotland (71%) have said that, to address skill shortages, they would be willing to employ staff without the necessary skills, while over a fifth (22%) have increased their training budget to focus on upskilling staff.

The Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends guide 2023, which includes over 13,000 responses from UK employers and professionals, and over 900 responses from those working in Scotland, shows that difficulties in hiring staff have reached a peak, as 94% of employers in Scotland report having experienced skills shortages in the past 12 months. Employers are continuing to increase pay in order to attract and retain staff, as well as being more likely to counter offer staff who hand in their notice.

However, despite ongoing economic uncertainty, most employers intend to hire staff over the next 12 months, according to Hays Scotland director, Keith Mason, who underlines the need for employers to reconsider their recruitment tactics.

“The survey showed that four out of five employers (83%) in Scotland are still planning to hire staff despite the uncertain economic climate, which is slightly higher than the number reported last year. This is positive,” says Mason, “but there’s currently a real need for employers to look outside their usual recruitment pool to fill posts. They should consider hiring staff from other related sectors or professions, and work to retrain staff with potential, while boosting their training budget to upskill existing staff.

“It’s also really important that employers aim to attract talent from south of the border or abroad. Many professionals may have studied and begun their career in Scotland, then moved away for other opportunities. We need to position Scotland as a vibrant place to live and work to encourage that talent to migrate back to Scotland.”

The trend for organisations to highlight this Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is increasing as a means of attracting, engaging and, importantly, retaining talent. Mason quotes various examples of how Scotland is flourishing, including the fact that Edinburgh has maintained its place as a leading international financial centre in the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), placing seventh in Western Europe, second in the UK, and rising one place to 21 on the global list.  Glasgow is ranked at 52nd, which is up 13 places on last year. In addition, Dundee is ranked as the best city in Europe to study video games design, and property costs 40% less than in London.*

“There are a lot of positives about living and working in Scotland, and we need to shout more about the massive career opportunities here. We’re also about to launch 100,000 new technology and maths graduates into the market – but how we keep them in Scotland? These are important considerations for employers.”

The Hays survey shows that 56% of professionals in Scotland are planning to move jobs in the next 12 months. However, this figure is quite low compared to the number of employers expecting to hire staff.

Over the last year 82% of employers in Scotland have increased their employees’ salaries or rates of pay, compared to just 57% who did so the year before. However, over half (51%) say this is not only to retain staff but a direct result of the rise in the cost of living. Additionally, a greater proportion of employers offered staff a performance-related bonus this year (46%).

“Salary, flexible working, employee benefits – these are all important,” says Mason. “But an organisation’s EVP should also cover Diversity, Equality & Inclusion, NetZero policies and sustainability. Especially for younger professionals, these values hold real resonance.”

The Hays survey also reports that skills shortages are having a negative impact on productivity (42%), employee morale (41%) and the ability to deliver projects (42%).

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