Webinar Roundup: Making UK Hiring the Fastest Globally

Webinar Roundup: Making UK Hiring the Fastest Globally

In this webinar, we heard from the Better Hiring Institute and the APPG for Modernising Hiring about the work that is happening to ensure the UK’s hiring processes are becoming the fastest globally.

Presenting were:

Jon Hall: Professor at the Open University & Advisory Board Member of the Better Hiring Institute

Keith Rosser: Director of Reed Screening and Chair of the Better Hiring

The Role and Impact of the Better Hiring Institute in Transforming the Hiring Landscape

In April 2021, the Better Hiring Institute (BHI) emerged as a collaborative effort between the UK government and industry leaders, dedicated to revolutionising the nation's hiring landscape. With a commitment to making UK hiring faster, fairer, and safer, BHI strives to modernise UK hiring through digital solutions, dismantle barriers for diverse groups, and enhance the UK’s labour market efficiency by harnessing the full spectrum of talent.

Currently comprising over 15 industry-specific subcommittees, the BHI covers approximately 75% of the UK workforce, with aspirations to expand its reach to encompass 80% of the nation's 32 million workers. The institute operates through sector-specific subcommittees, convening weekly with different groups to stay abreast of industry dynamics and ensure relevance amid evolving landscapes.

Action-oriented, the BHI analyses hiring patterns using data from subcommittee meetings, translating insights into actionable strategies. Collaborating with stakeholders across government, regulatory bodies, businesses, and workers, BHI is actively contributing to positive change.

Noteworthy achievements include the publication of sector-specific Better Hiring Toolkits, establishing a standardised framework for rapid global hiring. With toolkits currently available for four sectors and plans to expand to ten, BHI is pioneering a clear roadmap for the UK government to enhance the attractiveness of its labour market. Additionally, the institute has formulated a 10-point plan for faster hiring, addressing issues such as outdated hiring rules, digital identity challenges, and job transparency—a blueprint embraced by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Enterprise and Markets. As the BHI forges ahead, it remains dedicated to driving impactful solutions to hiring challenges, fostering collaborations, and ensuring the transformative benefits of technology advancements in the sector.

The UK’s hiring market is an “extreme problem”.

Jon, with a background in problem science, focuses on extreme problems—challenges perceived as wicked or insoluble. He identifies five to six characteristics of extreme problems, including massive complexity, high volatility, a hostile environment, and social complexity. Jon views UK hiring as an extreme problem due to the vast industrial sectors, technological changes, recruitment pattern shifts, and the complex social landscape with 32 million workers and 10 million economically inactive individuals.

Jon's interest in the BHI stems from a belief that it plays a crucial role in understanding and addressing the complexities of UK hiring. He acknowledges the challenges faced, such as lengthy hiring processes and the rising cost per hire, emphasising the need for solutions to enhance efficiency.

Costs and challenges in UK hiring

Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain conducted a study in 2015, which now considered relatively old, remains highly relevant today, shedding light on persistent challenges in the hiring process. Notably, Chamberlain's survey revealed that the United Kingdom takes an average of 28.6 days to appoint someone, posing substantial costs for businesses engaged in hiring processes.

In more recent figures from 2022 and 2023, the financial implications of hiring in the UK become even more apparent. Various costs contribute to the significant investment required for each new hire. Job board fees, advertising costs, recruitment agency fees, internal recruitment expenses, and invisible business costs accumulate to approximately £15,000 per individual hired. This financial burden underscores the impact of a prolonged hiring process on the overall cost for businesses.

Chamberlain's study also highlights the elongation of the job interview process in recent years. A variety of factors contribute to this trend, including industry characteristics, sector differences, legal and cultural distinctions, and the growing complexity of job characteristics. The need for aligning job expectations with those of the job seekers and the dynamic nature of employer interview methods further compound the challenges faced by businesses.

Despite these challenges, positive trends in the labour market have been identified. The Metropolitan employment balance remains positive, reflecting equal net employment intentions in both the public and private sectors. A noteworthy achievement is the balancing of public and private sector considerations, with a decline in redundancy intentions for the first time in two years. Additionally, hard-to-fill vacancies are prevalent in the public sector, which is balanced by rising wage levels approaching specifications in both public and private sectors.

The Role of AI in Hiring

Jon acknowledged the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models on content generation. Organisations are increasingly utilising these technologies for tasks such as crafting job specifications and supporting job applications, viewing generative AI as an opportunity to boost productivity.

While the potential benefits of AI in hiring are evident, it necessitates a careful balance due to privacy and security concerns. The conversation extends to interview processes, where AI can offer efficiency but also introduce risks associated with hiring the wrong candidate.

Finding equilibrium between AI and human involvement is crucial, recognising the need for oversight even as AI streamlines processes. However, the lack of collaboration among employers and the uncertainty in UK AI policies complicate this delicate balance.

The Better Hiring Institute aims to contribute valuable insights into the responsible application of AI in hiring. As policies evolve, BHI seeks to guide employers on leveraging AI efficiently while ensuring ethical and optimal outcomes in the recruitment process.

The Structure of the BHI

The Better Hiring Institute sits within a group of community interest companies, aligning with the umbrella organisation SAFER Jobs. Currently undergoing a rebranding effort, BHI has recently become the employer-oriented facet of SAFER Jobs, complementing the worker-driven initiative called Jobs AWARE. Supported by various government departments and Disclosure Scotland, BHI is integral to addressing challenges in the job market.

BHI's impact is evident in its extensive network, connecting with over six and a half thousand employer networks, engaging 150 regular All-Party Parliamentary Group attendees, and fostering collaboration through 407 regular subcommittee attendees. This collective effort ensures a balanced representation, benefiting both workers and employers.

With 13 subcommittees spanning diverse sectors like health, social care, supply chain, retail, and more, BHI brings employers together to discuss sector-specific hiring challenges. These subcommittees not only offer insights but also provide opportunities for participation in All-Party Parliamentary Groups, allowing individuals to voice sector-specific concerns to MPs.

Moreover, BHI hosts Faster, Fairer, and Safer expert panels, gathering technology providers and industry experts to discuss solutions and challenges. The organisation continues to grow and invites prospective members to join in 2024, providing an opportunity to actively contribute and benefit from the collective efforts shaping the future of hiring practices in the UK.

Shaping the Future of Hiring: Insights from the APPG on Modernising Employment

Keith spoke about the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modernising Employment’s work in addressing the challenges faced by employers and businesses in the UK. Launched with the aim of setting a blueprint for the future of hiring, this group brings together members from both Houses of Parliament, fostering collaboration and dialogue on crucial issues in the realm of employment.

APPGs play a crucial role in providing a platform for parliamentarians to engage with external organisations. The APPG on Modernising Employment distinguishes itself by focusing on the complex challenges encountered by employers and businesses in the UK's dynamic job market. This dedicated focus sets the stage for informed discussions and targeted initiatives.

Identifying a gap in existing APPGs related to employment and work, the Modernising Employment APPG has swiftly become a hub for collaboration. By actively engaging with other parliamentary groups, such as the Women and Work APPG, the group amplifies its impact, creating a synergistic approach to tackling complex issues in the employment sector.

The APPG has accomplished notable achievements in its mission to reshape the hiring landscape. These include:

  • The establishment of the Better Hiring Charter, which offers practical insights for employers to reduce barriers and enhance inclusion.
  • The 10-point plan for faster hiring was drawn up and submitted to ministers for consideration.
  • The APPG has facilitated sessions with employers and industry professionals, focusing on getting people into jobs, improving inclusion, and addressing regional flexibility.

Beyond its immediate successes, the APPG on Modernising Employment has strategically aligned itself with the UK government's broader initiatives, leveraging opportunities like the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. This Act, which enables greater data sharing for government purposes, aligns with the APPG's objectives of making UK hiring the fastest globally and addressing challenges in the digital landscape.

Future Sessions and Themes:

Looking ahead, the APPG has a comprehensive calendar of sessions addressing critical themes. These include modernising safeguarding, exploring the impact of artificial intelligence in hiring, reimagining the hiring process for the new generation, and improving the hiring of individuals with criminal records.

The APPG's upcoming session on modernising safeguarding in hiring is likely to address emerging challenges, such as deep fakes, digital fraud, and evolving threats in the hiring process. The planned face-to-face session in January will likely provide a platform for stakeholders to contribute insights and strategies to fortify safeguarding measures in the digital era.

The upcoming session on artificial intelligence and hiring in March will acknowledge the increasing role of AI in recruitment while also recognising the potential pitfalls. By exploring both the positive aspects and potential concerns, the APPG aims to strike a balance that maximises the benefits of AI in hiring while addressing privacy and security issues.

Moreover, the APPG is hosting sessions on hiring people with criminal records and reimagining hiring for the new generation. These discussions are vital in shaping policies that cater to diverse demographics and promote equal opportunities in the workforce.

These discussions will likely influence policy recommendations and contribute to shaping the future of work in the UK. The APPG actively seeks engagement from stakeholders, including employers, academics, and civil servants, ensuring a holistic and well-informed approach to policy recommendations.

As the APPG progresses through its planned sessions and collaborations, it remains crucial for stakeholders, including employers, academics, and civil servants, to actively engage. This collective effort ensures that the insights and recommendations generated through these sessions are robust, well-informed, and reflective of the diverse perspectives within the employment landscape.

The overarching vision of the APPG on Modernising Employment is to make UK hiring the fastest globally. By addressing challenges, promoting fairness and inclusion, and safeguarding in the digital era, the group is poised to shape the future of hiring in the UK. The APPG's strategic focus on engagement with government departments, industry leaders, and various stakeholders positions it as a key influencer in shaping the regulatory landscape. By actively participating in joint events, submitting policy recommendations, and fostering collaboration, the APPG aims to drive lasting change in employment practices.

Insights from our attendees

We took the opportunity to get a gauge of the experiences and opinions of our attendees.

Why is making hiring faster important to your organisation?

  • Securing the best talent – 28%
  • Ensuring a better candidate experience – 40%
  • Reducing workloads – 12%
  • Improving productivity – 20%
  • It doesn't matter – 0%

Have the developments in hiring this year resulted in a reduction in hiring times?

  • Yes – 50%
  • No – 11%
  • Unsure – 38%

As we finalise our events calendar for 2024, which topic are you most interested in hearing about?

  • Referencing – 18%
  • Digital Right to Work – 31%
  • Criminal Records Checks – 9%
  • Hiring Fraud – 18%
  • Digital Hiring – 18%
  • Other – 4%

The candidate experience is important to employers, as 40% of our attendees cite it as a key reason for speeding up the hiring process. Recent technological and regulatory changes in hiring in 2023 have expedited 50% of our attendees’ hiring processes, which shows promise. However, with the remaining half of attendees either unsure or seeing no speed benefit, it’s clear that more work needs to be done. Our attendees are most interested in hearing Digital Right to Work as part of Reed Screening’s future events calendar, indicating a lack of clarity and confidence in the system.

What’s next?

Digital hiring is a fast-moving area, with new developments happening all the time. Reed Screening is hosting regular events where you can keep up to date with the latest news and share your opinion on policy and process changes. 

The last event of the year is:

Thu, Dec 07  - 2023 roundup - our future in 2024 - Join us as we summarise key changes in 2023 and look ahead at what is coming for UK employers in 2024.