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Proactive workforce forecasting

According to official data 1.3 million people left the UK since the announcement of Brexit and the impact of Covid. 887,000 of those were migrant workers and the remaining number were students or family members of workers. We have seen an influx of some 700,000 migrants from outside of Europe in the last year, however, these migrants fall under the skilled worker visa which means that we are left with a labour shortage of approx 187,000 workers total but that the gap for the poorly titled ‘unskilled’ workers is far greater.  Manufacturing, Hospitality, and Construction industries specifically will suffer in this arena.

It is already clear that, in some sectors, Brexit has prompted workforce supply issues. For employers facing uncertainty, this means putting resources and thinking into workforce planning, a process which has previously suffered from the mistaken belief that it holds no value in uncertain times.

Modern workforce forecasting takes a more flexible approach and increasingly seeks to understand what certain futures might look like and what an organisation will need to do to embrace them positively.

Spending time planning your annual forecast financially is commonplace but there tends to be a finger in the air scenario when it comes to planning the number of people/hours/productivity level needed in order to deliver on your business objectives.

Workforce planning is time very well spent to ensure that your workforce will be capable of delivering your expectations.

As with any forecast – a workforce forecast only predicts what you might need and based on experience across the year it is much easier to amend in line with business fluctuations when you have the data to back up your decisions. Fluctuations will happen but it means you can create proactive plans to either hire additional workers to cover predictable seasonal peaks, or you can hire/create contracts and expectations so that you can rely on your existing workforce to increase or reduce hours in line with changes in demand.

So how do I complete a workforce forecast?

Well, it largely depends on the type and style of workforce you have, whether you have cyclical or predictable high and low seasons and whether you are planning for decline, sustained position or growth.

Fundamentally you need to understand your current processes and output, assess what impact the business change will have on your productivity and output and then plan appropriately for people and skills to ensure that you can fundamentally achieve the required outputs.

If you would like support understanding how best to complete an accurate workforce forecast for your business, please get in touch. We have vast experience in this arena and can easily help you make sense of your people and skill needs to enable you to support your business ambitions.