Whats behind the airport staffing crisis?

By Chris Milligan

You’ve probably seen the recent media coverage of airport queues, cancelled flights, and frustrated travellers. You may have even experienced this first hand as airport operators struggle to cope with millions of holidaymakers seizing the opportunity to travel abroad again after the pandemic. Many are calling it the summer of travel chaos — and it’s being fuelled by significant staff shortages.

But why is the aviation sector — and also other industries such as retail and hospitality — struggling to ramp up headcount to meet the demand? This article points to one major contributing factor: lengthy employee background checks: Last month, representatives for Manchester Airport in the UK said they were trying to onboard 500 new staff but due to background checks and security training only 200 of those were expected to start imminently. That represents a sixty percent blockage in their talent pipeline — and it’s creating havoc for companies and consumers alike. So what can organisations do to speed up the hiring process, save costs, and ensure legislative compliance?

The solution lies in the digitisation of employee screening — or more specifically, the eradication of semi-automated or even manual techniques that not only increase the risk of non-compliance but create a poor experience for both candidates and HR. Irrespective of whether the organisation plans to outsource background checking to a managed service provider or lease the technology to use in-house. Instant Verification of Employment (VoE) can remove these blockers and in the UK, we’re leading the way in this industry. Last week, HMRC announced its revamped employment records service in an effort to help battle the staffing crisis. Konfir is delighted to play a role in developing legislation and the resulting regulation to benefit all parties — Workers, Employers, Background Checkers and the Government.

Legacy processes aren’t meeting current needs, and with broader market evolution, including the DCMS Trust Framework, a path is being pathed to innovate under the guidance of government. Already, as a result of these changes, UK employers can now use digital technologies for right to work, criminality, and identity checks. The final barrier to a truly fast, digital hiring process is employment referencing, and the screening market is ready to innovate. We want to remove the barriers and manual processes stopping people from progressing more quickly into a new role. Although flight cancellations and delays are expected through to at least 2023, issues with onboarding staff are evident from hotels, to hospitals, and cleaning staff, where workers may need to provide over 20 pieces of documentation before they begin working. It shouldn’t take weeks for someone’s employment reference to be completed, thereby costing them, their employer, and the wider economy in the form of lost productivity. The spark that Konfir is adding to the UK labour market has never been more important, not least given the potential recession around the corner.

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