Aspiring, a leading provider of HR solutions and leadership and development coaching, addresses the recent findings released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that suggest a significant portion of the UK’s working-age population are not seeking employment.

The data, spanning the three months leading up to January, reveals that more than one fifth, just over nine million individuals aged between 16 and 64, are not engaged in the workforce, a figure that has remained consistently high since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals cite long-term illness as the main reason for their absence from the job market, but the demographic also includes those with disabilities and adults with family care responsibilities.

Liz Beck, Founder and CEO of Aspiring, commented:

“The ONS findings underscore the pressing need for organisations to address strategies for preventing long-term sickness and facilitating the return to work for affected employees. However, many businesses lack clarity on effective approaches to tackle these challenges.

“Businesses need to actively engage with their workforce by implementing robust plans to support individuals facing barriers to employment. Avoidance is not a solution; every case warrants a clear plan and high levels of engagement from employers.”

Aspiring proposes that organisations must revitalise their approach to making work attractive and compelling for employees. Key considerations for businesses to enhance their appeal to prospective and current staff include:

Defining organisational purpose: Clearly articulate the organisation’s purpose and how individuals can find meaning in their work, both for themselves and others.

Crafting compelling narratives: Effectively communicate the business’s story to provoke interest and inspire individuals to work for the company.

Developing employee value proposition (EVP): Define and promote the benefits offered by the company, including financial incentives, standard benefits, flexibility, educational opportunities, and career advancement prospects.

Adopting a positive culture: Create an environment that promotes a positive work-based climate and culture, characterised by supportive leadership and a sense of belonging.

Liz Beck emphasised the need for organisations to address these aspects comprehensively to attract and retain talent effectively. She added:

“In today’s competitive landscape, businesses must go beyond traditional approaches to talent management and proactively address the root causes of disengagement and absenteeism. By prioritising these elements, organisations can cultivate environments where individuals feel valued, engaged, and motivated to contribute their best.”

For more information on Aspiring and its comprehensive HR solutions and leadership training programmes, please visit https://www.aspiringhr.com.