Our research and blog series on recruitment strategy has led us to the clear conclusion that adopting a strategic approach to hiring and retaining staff is essential. But as our survey revealed, actually creating and implementing a strategy is no mean feat, with four in ten respondents admitting they have no strategy whatsoever. To understand the reasons for this, we’re delving a little deeper into specific sectors to assess what’s holding them back in this vital business process.

In the case of industries reliant on vast project wins, such as the construction sector, one of the main issues is the sheer number of skilled staff required at extremely short notice. Contracts for large-scale projects are often awarded at the end of a lengthy tender process, with bidding firms suddenly requiring a high volume of staff to complete a particular piece of work.

This has naturally led to the sector placing a heavy reliance on agencies providing temporary labour at short notice, as this is often the only way to obtain the quantity of staff required within stringent timescales. A sourcing strategy in this situation could focus on developing new resourcing channels that can provide talent at short notice, such as improvements in internal talent mobility, better utilisation levels, the development of a bench of resource to drop on to new project wins, or even the growth of a preferred contractor database in which to store known individuals in the market. How can the construction sector learn from other industries that also have to respond quickly to resource requirements and niche skills?

Our work within the IT sector has revealed similar issues, with technology firms often requiring staff for short-term projects, frequently turning to temporary agencies to fill a shortfall. Added to this challenge is the critical lack of scarce skills affecting the IT industry at present, which makes competing for the best talent even more tasking. This is teamed with a common concern about the ability of university courses to equip the next generation of graduates with appropriate technology skills. A recruitment strategy here must focus on securing pipelines of future talent, or competing more aggressively with ‘talent competitors’ for those candidates that are available. Longer-term options could include working closely with education providers to make courses more relevant to the workplace, or even developing in-house academies to grow your own staff. Of course, all of these options carry significant resource implications that must be weighed against overall business gains and objectives.

The solution to the recruitment troubles within these two very different sectors will not be found overnight, but the right approach to developing a recruitment strategy that covers the end-to-end recruitment lifecycle will help to ease the pain and build for the future. Partnering with a strategic RPO provider, with experience of working with a wide-range of companies and different industry sectors, is one way organisations can help alleviate sourcing constraints, freeing up time for more value-added recruitment activities and simultaneously benefiting from best-practice advice on critical resourcing issues.