With the UK still facing significant skills shortages, particularly in sectors such as hospitality, specialist workforce acquisition and management firm, Comensura, has urged employers across the country to not only take a more proactive approach to inclusive recruitment, but also focus attentions on the contingent labour market.

In its latest whitepaper, Navigating Skills Shortages Through Inclusive Workforce Solutions, Comensura highlighted that Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) is often unnecessarily limited to the permanent workforce, warning employers that they are missing out on a significant number of potential hires as a result.

This latest call comes at a time when the CBI reports that more than two-thirds of businesses have been hit by labour shortages.

Ex-offenders, women and over 55’s prime target audiences

Referencing remits which continue to face worker shortages such as Care, Hospitality and Facilities Services, Comensura has highlighted why employers across the board need to take a more proactive approach to inclusive recruitment strategies, focusing particularly on specific demographics that remain largely untapped.

According to the insights, ex-offenders, the over 55’s and women remain significantly under-represented in those sectors hardest hit by skills shortages, suggesting that ED&I efforts aren’t yet creating meaningful and long-lasting changes.

Aaron Wawman, Sales Director at Comensura, explained: “If ED&I is to become a serious part of talent strategies – which is how real progress will be delivered – then it needs to be a regular element of the everyday role of hiring teams. That includes bringing the contingent workforce into equity, diversity and inclusion strategies. While a temporary employee may only be part of a brand for a limited timeframe, they leave a lasting impact on the culture, are likely to return again, and will influence future contingent workforce hiring.

“Data will play a significant role in supporting this shift, but firms do need success models they can use as guidelines if they are to push ahead with truly strategic solutions. That’s where we believe that focusing on ex-offenders, women and the over 55’s – and the progress that others have made in attracting these groups – can be valuable. While these demographics remain under-represented in most permanent and temporary workforces, there are examples of how new approaches to engaging with these workers can change views in skills acquisition. From getting more women into waste, to improving job satisfaction for older workers and working directly with prisons to support more ex-offenders into employment, there’s so many ways businesses can improve access to resources and their reputation as an employer of choice. But our insight suggests there is still significant room for improvement that we hope the examples in our report will help address.”