Blue collar recruitment

November 6th, 2023 | Industry News

While most recruitment literature focuses on so called white collar recruitment, in the UK both agencies and HR departments are experiencing profound challenges in recruiting manual and skilled workers for most trades, with the Engineering and Hotel and Catering sectors being especially short of both permanent and temporary staff to fill vacancies

Manual and skilled labour is often seen as a more volatile sector, although the impact of AI on managerial and administrative roles is likely to bring similar unpredictability to these areas of recruitment too. Traditional recruitment methods are increasingly unable to deliver in terms of blue collar recruitment for three reasons:

1. Regulations and training

There can be rafts of regulation, legal processes, safety requirements and training needs that have to be addressed before new staff are equipped for many skilled trades and roles. This slows down recruitment and can lead to losing candidates before hiring processes are completed.

2. High turnover

These roles often have limited advancement chances, can be physically demanding, are shift related and may be seasonal – all of which mean that people frequently leave the blue collar sector, or move to other roles in other companies.

3. Location

While white collar jobs can often be done remotely, blue collar roles tend to require a workforce to be in a specific location. This can limit the available workforce and make recruitment more difficult.

Solving the blue collar recruitment problems
  • SAAS recruitment agencies have an undoubted advantage when it comes to reaching blue collar workers, many of whom will already be working a shift pattern and find it demanding to fit into a 9-5 recruitment approach. A recruitment website template that is fully mobile responsive allows recruiters and HR departments to engage with candidates regardless of their shift pattern, overtime commitments or commute.
  • Forward planning can help too – the best recruitment CRM works with a range of outreach techniques such as recruitment fairs and high school job fairs to identify potential future candidates and to stay in contact with them through engaging social media content, targeted adverts and bite sized recruitment tips that can bring young people on board as soon as they leave school because they already feel familiar with both the role and the company they are joining.
  • Skilled tradespeople know their worth – which means they are much less likely to be seeking to change jobs, and very unlikely to have a traditional CV. Applicant tracking system, UK focused, and trades targeted, can help to identify potential hires without taking the ‘upload your resume’ route, drawing on a pool of candidates who have everything needed to fulfil a role.
  • Highlighting benefits such as healthcare provision, gym membership, profit shares etc can help recruit skilled tradespeople. The best recruitment websites showcase what makes blue collar work worthwhile, which can catch the attention of ideal potential employees.


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