Supply shortages: how can an RPO partner help?

Pre-covid, the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK was at 60,000. Today, the UK has 100,000 fewer truck drivers than it needs

UK supermarkets are struggling to keep the shelves stocked in the way they would normally. Shopkeepers have been warned to expect stock shortages in the run-up to Christmas and need to negotiate with their suppliers increasing their prices. What is happening, and how can an RPO partner help businesses alleviate pressure?

Staff shortages

Pre-covid, the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK was around 60,000. Today, the UK has 100,000 fewer truck drivers than it needs, leaving companies and hauliers unable to guarantee pick-ups and deliveries. HGV drivers transport almost all products found on UK shelves, and especially those relying on tight schedules of deliveries like farmers, manufacturers, and construction companies, have expressed concerns.

A lack of HGV drivers is not the only labour shortage the UK supply chain faces, and the pingdemic impacting the availability of supermarket workers has long been mentioned as a contributing factor. However, this may just have been the tip of the iceberg.

Industry response

Many companies have taken it upon themselves to become a more attractive employer to the small talent pool of available drivers.

The time to fill a vacancy for an HGV driver takes most companies over 8 weeks. Reasons for the shortage include:

  • Drivers in the ageing pool of available drivers retiring,
  • Shortages of previously employed EU drivers that have left the UK,
  • And a backlog in drivers tests that could provide more qualified drivers because of the pandemic.

So far, the government response has included a relaxation of the driver’s hours rules, meaning drivers can now be on the road for 11 hours instead of 9. It is a response that has received wide criticism, as it is considered to do little to ease the problem it is trying to address, while compromising safety standards.

Many companies have taken it upon themselves to become a more attractive employer to the small talent pool of available drives. Tesco, for example, is offering a £1000 sign-on bonus, while Morrisons is working on training schemes for staff to become lorry drivers. Others advertise permanent contracts, no weekends or evening shifts, focus on wellbeing and salaries up to £40k and have expanded their recruitment campaigns to speak to a broader group, including women and first jobbers.

Engaging an RPO partner

An RPO partner can help you gain the competitive advantage, technology and insights needed to compete for talent.

An RPO partner can’t make a shortage of the needed skills go away, but an RPO partner can certainly help you gain the competitive advantage, insights and recruitment technology to ensure that the available talent chooses to work for your organisation. RPO experts bring the experience and knowledge of different markets in different contexts and will be able to advise. Examples include:

Recruitment strategy

A different market may mean reconsidering your overall recruitment strategy. When job advertising is no longer enough to attract the talent you need, an RPO partner can advise on a different approach. Hudson RPO has assisted a manufacturing client with hard to fill roles in remote locations by implementing a renewed on-the-ground, recruitment strategy. Click here to read more.

Predictive hiring

The need for niche skills and talent can fluctuate quickly, especially in unpredictable times. An RPO partner can do more than help you with your current hiring needs; with extensive experience and the tools available for analysis of your market, along with best practice methodologies, an RPO partner can help you predict future hiring needs. Predictive analysis helps you with more time to prepare, building talent pools in advance, and engaging and building relationships with talent early. Click here to read how our local knowledge, sourcing skills, and predictive analysis helped our client Caterpillar. Your RPO partner can also advise how to strategically train and develop existing staff to meet current and future demands.

Competitive advantage

Becoming the employer of choice in a competitive market takes a holistic approach to the recruitment process that an RPO partner can help set up from employer branding, recruitment advertisements, and the interview and onboarding processes. Click here to read how Hudson RPO helped AstraZeneca achieve 100% candidate satisfaction by augmenting the service with employer branding, satisfaction surveys, candidate pool management and LinkedIn and social media presence.

These are just a few examples of how an RPO partner can help you meet your hiring needs. If you would like to discuss your challenges or have any questions about how we can help, get in touch today.

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