Why Are Good Job Applicants So Hard to Find?

There's been a shortage of talent for several years now. But in 2021 it's especially hard to find 'the one' for your job vacancy and I'm seeing and hearing more and more frustration and bafflement around the subject.

But when this is the case it's important to ask ourselves the question.

Why would I move jobs?

I dislike my boss

This is a biggie - in the top three of why people leave jobs.

And we've all had one we couldn't abide. The bully, the micromanager, the useless article that we had no respect for, the misogynist or creep.

Only in 2021, I'm probably working from home, at least to a larger extent and I don't have to see him every day.

Life is very much better now that I can just get on with my job, not have him standing at my desk and I can choose when to answer his emails and calls.


Either I'm grateful to have a job right now, I'm getting 80% furlough money for staying at home, or cutting my commute substantially, thus saving money on a season ticket or running my car.

I've also ditched the daily Costa habit and spending £7 on sandwiches and crisps at M&S. Instead I'm tucking into last night's leftovers from the fridge at home.

Suddenly money doesn't feel quite so tight.

Lack of Career Progression

Welcome to 2021. Either I've discovered there's more to life than work or I have accepted that this is going to be a year or so of consolidation before there's room for me to climb the ladder once more.

Some people above me got made redundant in the pandemic and my job at least feels safe for the time being.


Again, working from home, in part at least, has made this less of an issue. And, we hope, that even with things settling into a more normal pattern, most people will not return to the workplace five days a week and the traffic jams will be fewer and more tolerable.

Flexible applicants who are in the market are saying "I'll travel anywhere pretty much if it's only two days a week and the rest is at home".

Job Security & Confidence

Taking that leap of faith from a current employer to a new one only occurs when the individual has confidence. And that's in short supply right now.

Moving to a lesser-known organisation feels risky.

Maybe they are not doing as well and I'll lose my job?

Maybe I won't pick things up quickly enough as I'll be training remotely?

What if I don't like it?

Better the devil you know.

The Job Retention Scheme

It's been the saviour for a lot of businesses, let's be honest.

But I'm hearing of people enjoying living off 80% and not working and also individuals who genuinely fear the return to work after an extended period of forced time away from the workplace.

Along with this, it's prevented millions of redundancies, so where in the credit crunch the marketplace was flooded with job seekers, we don't have that occurring this time around.

The hope being, of course, that by the time the scheme ends in September, businesses will have had time post-lockdown to get back on their feet and retain those on the scheme.

And one other thing to consider .... If I have been with a business for many years and I'm not back from my period of furlough yet, I might be holding out for redundancy and that lump sum payment.


I've been asking to work from home after 4 pm to help with school pick-ups and been denied. I have that now.

I've always wanted a dog but didn't have time to get home to walk it at lunchtime. I do now.

But you still need to fill your job vacancies, right?

So this helps you understand the reasons for the shortage but doesn't help with attraction. Because there ARE people out there, they are just in extremely short supply.

Thankfully, I have some further help, with links listed below.

BUT, hold your horses.

Think about this ....

Have you looked at your structure?

Could you move, promote, develop someone into the role and bring someone in at a different or lower level?

Maybe considered a trainee, fresh to the world of work to grow into the role?

Constant complaining about the skills shortage has been happening for years.

And if you're not attracting, training, supporting, developing, mentoring then, I am sorry to say this, but you are very much part of the problem. Because skilled people in your sector do not grow on trees. It takes forward-thinking business owners, recruiters, HR teams and line managers to spot potential and nurture it.

Now, here's that help I promised:

Make your job advert more appealing: https://www.clarityappointments.co.uk/view-details/36148/What-makes-your-job-advertisement-appealing-to-applicants.htm

How to advertise a job vacancy: https://www.clarityappointments.co.uk/view-details/36147/How-to-Advertise-a-Job-Vacancy.htm

My Top Tip for Hiring in 2021: https://www.clarityappointments.co.uk/view-details/36141/Top-Tip-for-Hiring-in-2021-Video.htm

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.

Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.

She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.