Overcoming the Hiring Crisis

By Katy Adderley
17 Feb 2023

Any business looking to grow in size will need to rely on talent acquisition. When you’ve perfected your hiring process and HR management, it's important to get the right person in place for the role. 

In this article, we’ll cover the current hiring crisis, and where and how you can find the right person for the role and your company. 

For further information read below, or contact our HR experts today on 01455 858 132.


What is the hiring crisis?

To put it simply, the hiring crisis is where employers from various sectors are struggling to hire for roles within their organisations. Multiple factors have played a part in the current job market crisis, such as. 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, saw many people decide to change their careers, retired early, or decided not to return to work. 
  • Brexit, A large percentage of UK industries use and rely on EU workers. As a result of Brexit, the free movement ended, meaning that the pool of workers was reduced significantly. 
  • Skill shortage, there has always been the threat of skill shortages in the UK. With the pandemic combined with Brexit, sectors are struggling to recruit talent with the right set of skills.

What’s going on with the hiring crisis? 

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the unemployment rate in the UK has hit its lowest since 1974 at 3.7%. At present Britain is facing a labour shortage, with roughly 180,000 unfilled vacancies in the hospitality sector alone. 

As an employer, you are perhaps struggling to fill roles despite this unemployment figure. There are a few ways that we can answer this question.

  • Maybe you aren’t looking in the right place for candidates.
  • You aren’t offering what job seekers want out of a job in todays labour market. 

How can I find and hire new employees?

There is someone out there who wants to fill the role you are hiring for. You just need to know where to look and what options are out there for you to utilise.  Take a look at some of the options available to your organisation: 

Work experience 

Under section 560 of the Education Act 1996, children who are in their last two years of compulsory education can join work experience schemes. Applicants usually work up to eight hours a day and forty hours a week, for one to two weeks. However, when choosing to opt for work experience schemes you must be aware of certain statutory restrictions that apply such as: 

  • Work that is beyond the physical and psychological capacity.
  • Be in one of the heavy industries, such as mines, quarries or any manufacturing.
  • If alcohol is being sold onsite and the child is below the age of 16. 

Schools will work with you to ensure that there are policies and procedures in place to make sure that the child remains safe, while they are on site. The school or college can request that any adult working with the child undergoes a DBS check, especially if they will be supervising the child. 


Apprenticeships can be a brilliant way of training individuals in a skilled profession while undertaking work at the same time. While they are open to everyone over the age of 16 they can be a cost-effective way of developing an employee’s skill set in the way that the employer needs.

Utilising apprentices in your business can have benefits for your business. They can encourage loyalty and commitment within the organisation and help with maintaining long-term employee retention

They can help you build relationships with local colleges, which can have multiple benefits for your business. These include: 

  • promoting your business to their students and potential clients.
  • helping you to build a good reputation with the local community. 

Apprenticeships can be an effective talent management strategy. By allowing the employer to have a larger impact on the skills that the apprentice is learning early on you can improve long-term performance and retention. Not only this, but apprentices are cheaper, the apprentice rate is applicable in the first year and whilst the apprentice is under 19. 


Traineeships were developed to help young people become more prepared for employment or apprenticeships. There are a specific set of benchmarks that the employer needs to reach or provide to take on a trainee. 

  • Provide a safe, meaningful and high-quality work experience placement. 
  • Depending on if the trainee claims benefits, the work placement can’t last more than 240 hours. 
  • At the end of the placement, the employers should interview the trainee if a job or apprenticeship role becomes available, or carry out an exit interview with feedback if a position isn’t available. 

Much like apprenticeships, traineeships will benefit employers like you. Offering a valuable work placement gives you the chance to get to know and work with the young person. This in turn allows you to see if they would be the right fit for the apprenticeship or potential job. You can develop a programme that suits their business and trainee while giving your current team the chance to develop their skills in training and mentoring. 


Where there isn’t a legal definition for what an ‘intern’ is in employment law, the term was created by employers to offer work experience placements. These kinds of placements differ from normal work experience. 

Intern placements are solely for the candidate to observe the work rather than undertaking any themselves, and because of this don’t have to be paid. 

They should be paid if they do work of value to the business, or if they're classed as a worker. You don't have to pay them if they're promised a future contract, as long as the internship doesn't change into a 'trial' and they end up doing the job they will later be paid for. 


Recruiting the right person 

When it comes to recruiting the right person, it's best to follow a structured and clear approach. We’ve put together a step-by-step process that you can use when you start your hiring process. 

Step 1 - Establish the Job Description and Personal Specification

While this might seem like an obvious step, you need to look at it from the perspective of your potential employees. Would you apply for a job where you can’t find a defined list of responsibilities? 

You need to make it as clear as possible. Here are a few essential criteria that your job description should contain. 

  • An overall statement as to what the job is about. 
  • A description of the main duties. 
  • Responsibilities and accountabilities.

Every time you create the job description, you should ensure that this information is updated. Once you’ve put together the description it's time to look at the personal specification. This is where you will define what characteristics you require from a person, it will also help potential employees know if they’d fit the role.

Step 2 - Advertise and shortlisting 

Now you’ve completed the job description and personal specifications you can start to advertise for the role. The language you use is important. Try and use neutral terms and avoid using phrases such as ‘mature’ or ‘school leaver. They can potentially put applicants off, and leave you as the employer at risk of a discrimination claim.

When you are stating what experience you want for the role, avoid saying how many years of experience in a particular skill you’re looking for, unless it's necessary and linked to a specific skill. 

Any applicants that apply for the role must receive fair treatment and must be considered solely on their ability to do the job. With this in mind, the selection for the short-listing should be based on the information provided in the application form, and relate to the recognised criteria on the person's specifications.

As an employer, it's important to remember that discrimination claims aren’t confined to just your workforce, any job applicant that feels they have been discriminated against can raise a claim against you.

Step 3 - Interviewing 

Once you’ve completed the interview you should be able to answer three questions about the candidate. 

  1. Can they do the job?
  2. Will they do the job? 
  3. Will they fit in?

Once you’ve completed the initial interview, you can create a test to check their knowledge and qualifications or ask for samples of work. 

As with the interview process, any assessments that are completed should be fair and where necessary, adapted for candidates who need it due to disability. Failing to do this could result in you facing an employment tribunal for not making reasonable adjustments. 

Step 4 - After the Interview

Once you’ve interviewed all your candidates, take the chance to differentiate between them. Was there any that stood out more to you? Your comments need to reflect the extent to which the applicant meets the criteria for the job. If you have any issues you can speak to our 24-hour employment law advice service. 

Need expert support with recruitment & HR?

Ensuring that you’ve got the right processes in place for your recruitment and onboarding process can be the difference between finding the ideal person to be part of the team and not finding them. 

Croner has a team of award-winning HR consultants who are specialists in their field. We've been helping businesses for over 80 years and our advice line is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Why not speak to a Croner expert on 0800 124 4378.

About the Author

Katy Adderley

Katy Adderley is Croner's Senior Content Executive, responsible for producing, sourcing, and organising content across the website. She has a background of working agency side as a copywriter in the marketing industry and is also responsible for Croner's social media channels, so keep your eyes peeled for fresh content!

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