We discussed recently the trend across the UK of a surge in vacancies and job opportunities, leading to a nationwide boost in confidence among employees regarding their future job prospects. With the economy steadily improving and so many roles becoming available, we highlighted how a strong employer brand was essential not only in order to attract talent, but also to retain it. With more open positions, wages creeping back up and increased job security, strategically aligning training, development and employee engagement with recruitment can project a highly positive employer brand, and prevent a current employee’s eyes wandering.

This week, the Manchester Evening News reported that (despite some gloomy predictions that much of this good news would be confined to London) the region is also experiencing a surge in vacancies. Statistics from job board CV-Library showed that in April, around 4,000 local roles were advertised via its service alone – a 61% jump on last year. Extrapolate this to the various other online job boards and the many traditional and digital channels the modern recruiter uses, and it paints a very rosy picture for the north west.

The trend shows that the region is benefitting from a UK-wide upturn and that regional employers are scaling up to meet the heightened demand. Groups that are expected to benefit include the long-term unemployed – a talent pool that could provide the perfect recruit – as well as those seeking a new challenge.

But will employers also gain?

With more organisations seeking regional talent, increased competition for the best candidates is inevitable. Well-prepared companies with a strategic recruitment plan will have anticipated the need to quickly grow; they will not only have a strong employer brand in place to attract new candidates and retain existing employees, but will have known in advance the types of roles it needs to fill, have formulated a sourcing strategy to identify the ideal prospective workers and, ideally, have a prepared talent bank of names that it should engage with.

Such a proactive approach pays dividends in this situation, as specific regional talent is often scarce, and drawing up a list of names in advance can provide just the head-start needed to hire a great employee. Unfortunately, recruitment for many is a more reactive process – vacancies around the North West (and no doubt many of the 4,000 seen by CV-Library) will have been in response to a role ‘unexpectedly’ being created – even if the position has been formed as part of a long-term business growth strategy. Where recruitment is separate from such high-level decisions, it cannot support business goals, and might even delay achieving them.

This much is demonstrated in the case of a bad hire, which can be the case when a role needs to be filled urgently and there are pressures on time. The effects (and financial costs) of hiring the wrong person can be disastrous, not to mention the damage that might be done to the team.

For North West employers seeking to expand without a formal recruitment strategy or workforce plan in place, it need not necessarily be a negative. For sure, we’d advise that having these in place, or outsourcing to an experienced partner that can handle them on an organisation’s behalf, will produce the best results – but a recruitment process can still be proactive and considered without these value-add strategic initiatives.

We’ve detailed the six stages of the recruitment process – from reactionary and potentially debilitating, through to a world-class example incorporating strategic elements. To discover them, and learn how to build from one to the next, why not download our free ebook.