Like most countries located in Continental Europe — or indeed the world — the United Kingdom currently faces a rare scenario wherein it has more job vacancies than unemployed people. As the unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low 3.7% between January and March of 2020, job openings rose to a new record-high of 1.3 million.
“The progress made in digital identity checks a clear step in the right direction for the market.”
“With skills shortages rife across the UK, businesses simply cannot afford to lose prospective new hires in complex compliance processes”, said Steve Smith, Managing Director EMEA at Sterling. “While the pandemic has had a severe impact on the labour market, it has also had a positive effect. With the progress made in digital identity checks a clear step in the right direction for the market.”
The rise of digital identity checks
In lieu of the pandemic, the UK moved swiftly in solving right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic. As employers are legally obliged to comply with the prevention of illegal working legislation, this process had to be done remotely. In March 2020, the UK Home Office introduced the COVID-adjusted Right to Work scheme in as a temporary measure to allow employers to conduct document checks from home.
81% agreed that the move to digital identity checks would be a positive one.
Now, the framework for remote digital identity checks could become the norm. Following the positive feedback received about the ability to conduct right to work checks remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office announced it would permanently move to digital checks. So far, the transition has been met with optimism. A recent survey during a Sterling webinar illustrated that 81% of hiring managers agreed that the move to digital identity checks would be a positive one.
Goodbye, CVs and references
Employee screening, driven by automated banking data to confirm a job applicant’s work history, can be used for instant gap verification, career history validation and referencing. If those elements are, in essence, checked – what role is there left to play for old-school recruiting elements such as the CV and references? “Digital right to work has led the agenda for some time for obvious reasons”, said Keith Rosser, Group Director of Reed Screening. “I am delighted Digital Careers is already challenging old fashioned views on CVs, work history checking, and referencing. Another key step towards digital hiring. Our own research shows that an incredible 94% of employers said they would use digital careers to speed up hiring.”
Are hiring managers prepared?
Now the onus is on hiring managers. According to Sterling’s recent webinar poll, 38% of hiring managers were unsure about the process, 9% believed it would be a challenging process, and 1% indicated that they would prefer traditional screening methods. “The results of our webinar poll certainly indicate that employers are apprehensive about the move to digital identity”, Smith commented. “But our post-poll confirms that a lot of this reticence comes from a lack of understanding around the finer details, rather than a complete reluctance to the move.”
“Once employers are familiar with how these checks will work, they will truly reap the benefits.”
“The introduction of Digital Identity should definitely be viewed by employers as a positive change”, Smith added. “Allowing hiring managers to benefit from technology that can significantly improve the candidate experience. As well as the speed and accuracy of their background checks. Once employers are familiar with how these checks will work, they will truly reap the benefits.”
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