You will have heard about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of job vacancies out there on the market. What you may not be so aware of are the difficulties in recruiting.
Post-lockdown positivity has led to a boom for jobseekers yet that boom may turn into a bust, as employers are finding it more and more difficult to track down candidates for the vacant job roles.
The UK and Ireland are currently experiencing the strongest growth in Europe.
After redundancies and job freezes last year, companies are looking to bounce back. Yet, of the 61% of companies that were recruiting in the 3rd quarter, 77% of them noted difficulties. There is enhanced customer demand but on the flipside, there are not enough employees to fill these roles.
The British Chamber of Commerce noticed that the number of businesses struggling with recruitment has been rising. The impact is huge and there is real fear that it will continue to rise for some time. The ManpowerGroup also noted an increase of 13% in hiring intention.
Half of those who took part in the BCC survey revealed that they had difficulty hiring skilled tech staff. We have highlighted this previously.
The service industry and manufacturing were hit hardest and both are on, or very near to, the highest number since the data started to be recorded. Consumer services are the least affected. Unskilled roles are affected too and it is this all-encompassing recruitment problem that makes it so unique, as it is touching every sector.
Companies experiencing this are shocked and frightened by this, not having experienced anything similar in recent memory. Full-time posts are most affected and within this fact, lies the most damaging trend. A lot of companies are raising the pay they offer but it makes no difference.
These shortages are having a serious impact on the economic recovery. The longer a vacancy goes unfilled, the less a firm can operate as it needs to.
Investment can help but things like apprenticeships take time to come to fruition, time that these companies don’t have. Some have criticised the government for this, and while they can certainly take some of the blame, they also can’t fix it quickly, with any initiatives they may put forth also taking time to come to fruition.
Rising rents, rising energy prices and pressure to increase wages that have stagnated, are all contributing to problems for companies. If the pressure continues unabated, those companies may fold in the near future.
So what is behind this. The main theory is that Brexit, which made migrant workers return to their home countries, or at least to go to another EU country where they still had a right to work, has contributed significantly. This has also led to a skills shortage. The UK skills shortage is also the largest in Europe.
Additionally, Covid-19 has had a two-fold impact, with an estimated 160,000 deaths, many of whom were of working age, and the self-isolation/pingdemic disrupting employees’ ability to go to work or commit to work. This has led businesses to increase wages but to no avail. Haulage firms have increased their pay by 20%, for example, just to get things moving.
Those businesses who had prepared for a shortage when Brexit came in have then been blindsided by the Covid-19-related perfect storm. It is going to be a tough winter and fingers crossed that visa problems can be solved, there are no more lockdowns, firms continue to employ specialist recruitment partners and we all have a very merry Christmas.
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