Recruiting for ‘hard-to-fill’ vacancies could cost UK businesses up to £38 billion

Recent research shows recruiting for ‘hard-to-fill’ vacancies could cost UK businesses up to £38 billion using recruitment agencies. 

An online employee referral recruitment platform has found that harder to fill vacancies could cost UK businesses up to £38 billion to fill if they turn to recruitment agencies, based on research and figures from the ONS* and CIPD**.

Real Links conducted research into recruiting costs and compared them to recent employment statistics, figuring out the estimated cost to UK businesses.

According to the Office for National Statistics, employment rates in the UK are at an all-time high and unemployment is at its lowest rate since December 1974. With 5.7 million SMEs in the UK, and 61% of firms reporting at least one hard to fill vacancy**, this equates to almost 3.5 million hard to fill positions. On top of this, 41% of employers reported that it’s becoming increasingly harder to hire at all levels.

With a reducing unemployment rate, there is an ever-dwindling pool of potential candidates ready to fill these vacancies and employee referrals are being recognised as more valuable than ever in sourcing talent.

The Real Links platform allows UK business owners and HR teams to access a potential talent pool of hundreds of thousands of referral candidates and creates anonymised profiles, ensuring there is no unconscious bias when selecting candidates. By sending employees referral recommendations when their connections are matched to a job and using gamification to incentivise and reward employees for using the platform, employee engagement is increased which leads to greater retention over the long term. By using referral platforms such as Real Links, companies also gain access to passive candidates who are not currently looking for new opportunities but may be interested in new challenges such as those offered by harder to fill vacancies.

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Sam Davies, CEO and co-founder of Real Links, said,

“While lowering unemployment figures are obviously a great headline, for UK businesses, it does create a potentially costly headache when it comes to filling vacancies.

“Matching candidates with vacancies is not the easiest task, especially with the limited pool of candidates on the books of recruitment agencies. But by using employee referrals and harnessing the power of social media connections, it can be made much simpler and effective for long term hires.”

Sam Davies, the founder of Real Links, is available to interview via

Author: Editorial Team

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