Poor Quality Applicants and Skills Shortage Ranked As Top Issues in Recruitment in 2023

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The landscape of recruitment in 2023 has been dynamically affected by various factors. These issues in recruitment have led to organisations facing significant challenges impacting their ability to fill vacant positions and maintain a competitive workforce. 

A survey by XpertHR has discovered insight into these issues in recruitment, with poor quality applicants and skills shortages taking the forefront as the top concerns for HR and recruitment professionals.

READ: Lengthy Job Interview Processes are Pushing Away Talent

Poor Quality Applicants

The survey reveals that 78% of HR and recruitment professionals identify poor-quality applicants as a major hurdle in the hiring process as one of the issues in recruitment. In the age of digital job platforms, the ease of applying to multiple jobs online has resulted in a higher influx of applications, but not necessarily from candidates matching the job requirements.

Tackling Poor Quality Applicants:

  • Clear Job Descriptions: Ensure job postings are clear, concise, and accurately reflect the qualifications needed, minimising applications from candidates who do not meet requirements.
  • Streamlined Recruitment Process: Businesses should streamline their recruitment processes to minimise delays and problems in recruitment. Lengthy and complicated processes may discourage top-tier candidates.

Issues in Recruitment: Skills Shortage

Close on the heels of poor-quality applicants, 77% of surveyed professionals highlighted skills shortages as a significant challenge. Rapid technological changes in various industries have made it harder to find candidates with the latest skills. Additionally, skilled individuals are switching jobs less frequently.

Tackling Skills Shortage:

  • Enhanced Training Programmes: About 43% of respondents are addressing skills shortages by offering enhanced training programmes to upskill current employees. This approach can help bridge the gap between the skills needed and the skills available.
  • Appealing Pay and Benefits: To attract skilled candidates, 58% of HR professionals are offering more appealing pay and benefits. This aligns with the need to remain competitive in the market.

Competing with Pay and Benefits Packages

Almost half (44%) of respondents find it challenging to compete with competitors’ pay and benefits packages. In a job market where skilled individuals have the upper hand, organisations need to rethink their compensation strategies.

Tackling Pay and Benefits Competition:

  • Employer Branding: Companies should focus on building a strong employer brand and reputation. A positive corporate culture and employee experience can make positions more appealing to skilled candidates.
  • Non-Monetary Benefits: In cases where meeting salary demands is challenging, employers can offer non-monetary benefits such as childcare vouchers, season ticket loans, and private healthcare.

Retention of New Hires

Retention of new hires is another area of concern, with 26% of respondents facing difficulties in this regard. This issue is closely tied to the competitive job market where employees might receive better offers elsewhere, one of the major issues in recruitment.

Tackling Retention Challenges:

  • Retention Bonuses: Some organisations are implementing retention bonuses to retain talent. For instance, a 30% retention bonus after a three-year commitment can incentivise employees to stay.
  • Focus on Employee Experience: Businesses should consider their employer brand, corporate culture, and the overall employee experience to enhance retention.

Recruitment Challenges in 2024: Strategies for Success

As we move into 2024, organisations need to adopt proactive strategies to overcome the persistent challenges in recruitment processes. Addressing poor-quality applicants, skills shortages, pay and benefits competition, and retention issues requires a comprehensive approach.

Embracing Technology in Recruitment

  • Leverage advanced recruitment technologies to filter and identify high-quality applicants efficiently.
  • Implement applicant tracking systems to streamline the hiring process and enhance candidate experience.

Investing in Continuous Learning

  • Establish a culture of continuous learning within the organisation.
  • Offer training opportunities to upskill existing employees, addressing both current and future skills requirements.

Enhancing Employer Brand

  • Prioritise employer branding to create a positive image in the job market.
  • Highlight the organisation’s commitment to employee development, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

READ: Tackling Organisational Culture Issues Will be One of the Key HR Priorities in 2024

Flexible Work Arrangements

  • Embrace flexible work arrangements, including remote work options.
  • Tailor benefits packages to cater to the diverse needs of a multigenerational workforce.

Collaborative Efforts with Educational Institutions

  • Collaborate with educational institutions to bridge the gap between academic curricula and industry requirements.
  • Offer internship programmes and engage with students to identify and nurture potential talent.


The issues in recruitment of poor quality applicants, skills shortages, and other issues in recruitment processes demand a strategic and holistic approach from organisations. By adopting innovative solutions, investing in employee development, and aligning recruitment strategies with evolving market trends, businesses can navigate the complex landscape of talent acquisition successfully in 2024.

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