Hampshire County Council is struggling to hire staff – and is now competing with supermarkets over recruitment.
That’s the view of the authority’s deputy director for people and organisation Stephanie Randall, who said the council needs to make the organisation more attractive and welcoming for new candidates.
Addressing the council's corporate services and resources select committee, Ms Randall pointed out that the organisation is working on new ways to approach candidates as they are having difficulties hiring when up against private companies.
"Private companies are taking all the talent and with inflation, the cost of living people choose those salaries that the council can not offer," she said.
The people and organisation budget for 2023/2024 will allocate more than £6 million to HR operational services. With this budget approved, they are studying new tactical ways to support the organisation in the long term.
"In line with the other directorates, we continue to look at innovative ways of attracting new staff including 'growing our own' through apprenticeships and other training programmes and taking part in corporate initiatives to attract and retain our workforce.
"Even supermarkets are competing against the county council for recruits."
The county council currently employs more than 37,000 full and part-time staff. More than 250 job vacancies are available, from teachers to highway engineers, social workers to IT technicians, these last two being the ones that the council is struggling to hire because of the lack of qualified staff.
Ms Randall continued: "Through travel discounts, flexible working when possible, Local Government pension scheme, family-friendly policies, childcare vouchers or learning and development opportunities, we would encourage them to work with us, and to feel proud of working for the organisation.
"Recruitment to vacant roles continues to present challenges for services across the whole directorate which is driven by demand for the associated skillsets in the wider market and shortage of a suitably qualified workforce from which to draw upon.
"The county council continues to deliver its commitment to inclusion, diversity, and well-being for its staff, and actions are being undertaken to improve access to new working opportunities.
"Every role in the organisation has a meaning. To deliver quality jobs we need people, so the chain works properly," she added.