With the current skills shortage and increase in demand for contract and temporary workers, candidate or user experience (UX) has never been more important. But when thinking about candidate experience it’s easy to overlook your software and technology, and focus instead on in-person communication and softer elements.
To create an open, transparent relationship and positive experience for candidates, staffing firms need to choose, and make use of, a technology platform to manage their Front and Middle Office.
The impact of the UK’s skills shortages
The UK, as a whole, is experiencing huge skills shortages which have been widely documented. A recent report by the Learning and Work Institute (L&W) , for example, found there would be a shortfall of 2.5 million highly skilled workers, costing the UK £120 million by 2030. And it’s not just one industry that’s suffering. The skills shortage spans construction, hospitality, manufacturing, education, IT and technology along with banking and many more.
With employers struggling to recruit permanent staff, they’re increasingly turning to the contingent workforce to ensure they have the right people and the right skills in place. The flexibility of and speed in which a contingent worker can be hired negates the risk to the business of the skills shortage hampering business growth. Instead, workers can be brought in on short-term or fixed contracts with specific skills to plug a gap in the organisation.
Demand for temporary workers has increased
The reliance on contingent workers comes at a cost though, as contractors are able to increase their rates due to the rise in demand. Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo commented on the trade association’s latest research that, “the contract labour market has been heavily relied on as skills shortages remain rife. With talent in increasingly short supply since Brexit and Covid, temporary staff have been hugely valuable in filling gaps. The spike in contract sales revenue does show the level of fees contractors are able to command in such a skills short market. While we fully expect rates to increase in a cost-of-living crisis, the pre-Covid comparisons show a significant increase which is being driven by more than just the economic climate.”
For agencies managing high volumes of contingent talent this means that candidate experience has to be front of mind to remain competitive in the market.
The importance of candidate experience
It’s a candidate's market right now, especially for temporary and contract workers. With so many options available to them, decisions often come down to the less obvious factors including candidate experience. That’s why your candidate experience from the beginning of hiring right through to onboarding, compliance checks and payment needs to be prioritised.
What can agencies do?
The main area that agencies can focus on when considering their approach to candidate experience is looking at their Front and Middle Office software platform. Technology can be a game changer for your UX as it allows transparency, automation and a level of professional service that can’t be beaten.
How can the right technology improve your candidate experience?
Prioritising your candidate experience starts with opening up your recruitment process. Technology is rapidly transforming our interaction with applicants through automating processes, allowing personalisation and creating efficiencies. All of which are essential to a positive user experience. Research by the CIPD showed that 81% of respondents thought technology in the recruitment process improved candidates’ experience.
Technology can also add value to the experience by providing clarity and engaging with the applicant at every step. Choosing the right Front and Middle Office software platform should empower candidates to:
- Match with opportunities
- Track their applications
- Submit time sheets
- Redeploy to other opportunities
- Reconcile and track payments
Giving candidates easy access to that information makes the process more open, more straightforward and more enjoyable - creating a favourable impression and improving their experience while making sure your agency has all the information they need to run a smooth and efficient Front and Middle Office.
Managing the candidate experience in your starts with the right technology. It’s quickly becoming a crucial part of recruitment, particularly for temporary and contract professionals.
With contingent workers in such demand they’re in a position to pick and choose who to work with. Any experience, positive or negative will impact their decisions and staffing agencies need to make the most of their software to ensure candidates are choosing them over competitors.
Choosing a solution that allows candidates to stay informed, submit the relevant information, and feel empowered creates a positive candidate experience which is essential to successful hiring in the current climate.