21 March 2018
Demand for staff remains but employers struggle to fill roles
Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on data from November 2017 – January 2018, show that the number of people in employment is rising, while vacancies remain high.  It revealed an increase of 168,000 in the number of people in work to 32.2m, while wages grew by 2.6% but unemployment rose by 24,000 to 1.45m in the three months to January. Commenting on the data, Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy Tom Hadley said with the number of vacancies holds close to a record high, employers need even more workers to fill roles.


“The number of people in employment continues to rise, showing business is performing well. However, the number of vacancies holds close to a record high, showing employers need even more workers to fill roles. There are plenty of jobs out there for candidates with high in-demand skills, which could be anyone from drivers to nurses to baristas. Employers have to compete with each other to attract those people and our data shows that one way they are making themselves more attractive is by offering higher starting pay.

“Although inflation remains above pay growth, the positive news is the gap looks to be closing. Employers should think about what else they can offer staff in terms of training and benefits too. In many sectors, employers are facing a staffing crisis. It’s a smart move to incentivise your current staff to stay with you at a time when they could be getting competitive pay offers elsewhere.”

Meanwhile Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of careers site CV-Library, called the figures good news for the economy.

“Our own data found that advertised jobs were up by 11.2% in January 2018 compared to the previous year, yet candidate appetite is failing to keep up with employer demand.

“Professionals are nervous about their position in the current market – and who can blame them. The government has not been clear enough about Brexit plans, meaning many workers seek financial stability in their current employment. In turn, recruiters are having to become more creative with their hiring efforts, in order to attract the best talent.”

In these challenging times, employers should be looking to focus on their training and development programmes, to ensure they’re filling the roles with skilled employees and doing their best to retain top talent.

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