The workforce that won't come back is not purely a US phenomenon - in the UK vacancies are 50% above pre-pandemic levels while the number of people of working-age who are neither in work nor seeking employment is 400,000 higher. Shortages of people and skills will continue to challenge employers, and their capacity through 2022 – the cost of living crisis compounds this through wage pressures.

For job seekers this is often good news. More roles available, with higher salaries and greater flexibility (especially in relation to remote working), plus an emphasis on training/upskilling and creating a great working culture. Candidates can sit back at take their pick – after all, they are the ones in demand. What employers need is more job seekers – and it’s entirely possible that they can proactively increase that supply.

McKinsey call this the “New Talent Game.” Employers are now competing not just with each other, but with the wider array of work experiences on offer (not to mention locations – I’m based in Bristol and for half a decade all my people were too, now I am nabbing the talent of other regions of the UK), and also the (often temporary) decision not to work at all. To – as George Michael would have worn it – CHOOSE LIFE.

How do you win in that context? Organisations must redefine their attraction and recruitment strategies and build a value proposition that takes employees’ whole lives into account and makes work a more positive choice. What is clear is those candidates are only coming back on their terms: workplace flexibility, adequate compensation, and reasonable expectations about performance.

As a leading, global talent partner for a diverse range of businesses, PeopleScout’s RPO solutions have long been designed to amplify employer brands with a recruitment approach that focuses on an enhanced candidate experience. The missing talent can be won by placing the employee experience at the heart of your talent strategy and I’m proud to say we in Q1 2022 are re-delivering hundreds of employees each month into consumer and retail sectors for our client partners in the UK, with fulfilment trending positively each month. It hasn’t been easy – but we are playing the New Talent Game to win.