How customer care will win the talent wars

From admin assistant to senior sales director, Ashley McClure has seen almost every aspect of a recruitment business. But it’s in her current role as account director that she makes the biggest difference to Workr clients. Whether that’s through plugging skills gaps or ensuring contractors are paid deserving wages, her work delivers realistic solutions to those who need them.

With the landscape shifting closer to a global workforce, the challenges facing construction businesses (and almost all other industries) are growing.

That’s why we asked Ashley to tell us about her recruitment journey so far, and weigh in on some of the sector’s biggest issues.

How did you get into recruitment?

I fell into recruitment through an admin role. From there, I went to resourcing and gradually moved up into actual recruitment.

Today, I’m an account director. My day to day includes bringing in new accounts, managing teams and advising clients on the options available. That could be clients from all industries, but I specialise in construction, rail and engineering. In fact, it’s thanks to this niche that I was able to secure positions with a well known rail company.

What aspect of recruitment do you handle?

Generally, I deal with the contracting population and keep abreast of what projects people are involved with. Anything from navigating PAYE alternatives, advising on SDC work and supporting end clients with skills gaps. 

Because of this approach, we’re seeing over 700 referrals a week. Only by asking questions and actually understanding what contractors are working on can we offer a solution.

I do the same level of outreach with our current accounts, ensuring there’s a happy balance between incoming and retained business. Complacency will lose you clients. We designate our resources to be hands-on with every consultant we work with.

What are the challenges for you?

In the current climate, a lot of my clients can’t fill the roles. Brexit, COVID-19 and the skills gap mean that vacancies are staying open for much longer. As a result, organisations are losing weeks, despite completion dates staying the same.

With enormous infrastructure projects such as the ones I deal with, it’s difficult to find alternative solutions when the talent simply isn’t there. Yet the demands of the work are growing by the day.

Even in the instances where you have contractors, they’re often so motivated by their rate of pay that clients lose them to local competitors for the slightest increase. This makes it difficult for organisations to hold onto the talent they do acquire.

How do you help clients overcome the challenges in that niche?

It’s a case of understanding their specific needs. For example, it could be as straightforward as their location. A lot of contractors won’t travel beyond their means for a role when there’s a similar vacancy close by with a competitor.

By looking at the average tenure of our contractors, we’re able to protect our clients from losing talent at a moment’s notice. Recently, we had a number of contractors consider leaving an end client because of auto-enrolment and pension contributions.

We’d previously mentioned that they’d need to ring customer care and opt-out, but the message had been lost, and the deduction in take-home pay was a surprise. Fortunately, we overcame those challenges by ringing the contractors directly. It’s this personalised service that gives the client more time to focus on projects and filling positions.

What do you predict will be the next big change in recruitment

More international business roles are coming up. There’s a dramatic increase in people willing to work further afield, not just for money, but for job security too.

This, combined with the factors already straining the market, means we’re likely to see an even greater skills gap for end clients – especially if they aren’t paying more money. There’s only so long we’ll see organisations able to afford missing deadlines. Instead, they’ll have to increase the budget for talent acquisition, and be more flexible with completion dates.
Until then, Workr are here to help agencies access untapped talent and enhance their service to clients. So, if you’re interested in leveraging our expertise, get in touch on ashleym@workrgroup.com.

Our staff regularly write about subjects that interest them in ways that will interest our clients. Sign up for our newsletter and receive notifications when new content is added.