UK employers have been hit with the most severe shortage of job candidates on record due to the post-lockdown surge in the economy and Brexit, a recruiters’ body has said.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) says upbeat business optimism is being tempered by shortages of staff, with Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey expressing concerns about getting jobs filled.
REC said a reluctance by employees to switch roles due to the pandemic, fewer European Union workers and skill shortages were contributing to the staffing squeeze.
“Candidate shortages continue to plague businesses, who are all recruiting from the same pool of talent and struggling to fill gaps,” said Claire Warnes, head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, which co-produces the survey.
The pace of recruitment for permanent posts hit the highest in the survey’s nearly 24-year history last month. Temporary hiring and open vacancies were not far off July’s record levels.
And with the expiry of the government’s furlough scheme around the corner, the staffing “crisis” is not likely to go away anytime soon as more people become available for work.
“Many businesses will have changed their business model during the pandemic, and so significant numbers of staff returning from furlough may need re-skilling to rejoin the workforce in the same or another sector,” Warnes said.
Last week Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed UK economic growth slowed in July even as many businesses were allowed to open fully for the first time in months.
Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.1 per cent, a slowdown from 1 per cent growth in June.
Companies had faced problems with the so-called “pingdemic” and shortages of materials – especially in the construction sector.
Retailers saw declines, while lawyers also took a hit because of the tapering-off of the stamp duty holiday.
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