Jersey brand

Job seekers call the shots as job vacancies remain high

High number of vacancies and difficulties recruiting staff are changing the balance of power between employers and potential workers, says one employment expert.

Heidi Gibaut, chief executive of employment relations firm Law at Work, said companies now needed to show greater flexibility to those unable or unwilling to comply with a five-hour office scheme. days, “nine to five”. .

She said the changing landscape is a result of the number of job vacancies, which currently exceeds the number of Islanders looking for work.

The tough hiring market – fueled by a lack of affordable housing and a transition to early retirement – ​​was cited by former Jersey Post chief executive Kevin Keen last week as one of the biggest challenges facing the new island government.

Ms Gibaut said the difficulties in attracting new employees and the imposed changes in working conditions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic were contributing to a change in approach for many companies.

“Employers are realizing they need to change the mold and be more empathetic with staff – if someone has a reason why they can’t be at work at 9 a.m. then employers should look into it. they can adapt to that,” she said.

“Employees are more expecting their employer to put more emphasis on agile working and a culture of flexibility, and that’s become competitive – companies that aren’t flexible are likely to lose.”

Ms Gibaut said the difficult recruitment market was not sector specific, but something that was experienced island-wide, affecting finance, hospitality, retail and the public sector , among others.

Claire Boscq, chief executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association, said her organization was working hard to make it easier for businesses to attract staff.

She said: “We are trying to look at all options, engaging with schools to identify young talent, encouraging return-to-work programs and talking to customs about visa applications that have been delayed. in London.”

Ms Boscq said she hoped a recent ‘speed-dating’ event that allowed people to ask questions of election candidates would prove beneficial when the island’s new government is formed after the month’s elections. next.

“We want to build relationships with people in government so that there is awareness and understanding of the issues we face in hospitality,” she said.

Ms. Gibaut and Ms. Boscq highlighted the additional difficulties caused by the lack of affordable housing.

Ms Gibaut said: “Some people move to the UK because their employer has an office there, they can actually take their work with them and maybe make occasional visits to Jersey when they need to, which is a solution for them, but it is not good for the economy.

As of Friday afternoon, the government website showed 1,356 vacancies, while the most recent figures from Statistics Jersey showed 720 islanders were actively seeking work on March 31.