Could flexible working be the answer to your skills shortage?

posted by 5 years ago in News

You’ve written the job specification, cleared extra desk space and spent money on a job advert only to find you can’t recruit a candidate with the skills you need to help you grow your business. Sound familiar?

Increasingly, bosses of small and medium-sized businesses are turning to freelancers, part-time and flexible staff to fill their requirements and help overcome the skills shortages they’re experiencing in their workplaces. New research has revealed that 84 per cent of UK SMEs are relying on using flexible staff with over half claiming that they struggle to fill vacant roles.

The study by Jobsite also found that 44 per cent of those using such workers claim that it’s helping them to scale up their business.

The research comes after it was found that there is currently a national skills shortage in SMEs particularly when it comes to digital specialists. The industries identified as struggling the most to hire the right employees are legal services (68%), travel and transport (52%) and manufacturing (50%). Whilst some businesses are turning to apprentices to help fill the gap in skills others are focusing on flexible working and staff benefits.

With the larger companies used to being able to fish out more experienced and specialist talent, an openness to flexible working is becoming an important tool for smaller businesses to attract the brightest, best and most loyal talent. More than a third (39%) of SME bosses asked said that providing the option to work flexibly is bagging them the best staff.

Not only are the benefits clear for employers but also for staff who have been found to be happier, more motivated and more likely to stay with a firm that allows them to work flexibly.

So which areas are taking advantage of these benefits and offering flexible working?

North West businesses are leading the way with 93 per cent relying on part-time, freelance and project staff whilst only a quarter of London-based SMEs currently seek support from flexible staff.