12 April 2017
Skills shortages in the UK

According to data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has found that the availability of staff is on the decline, especially in London. The number of permanent candidates has decreased for the 46th month in a row in the capital city of London, along with the fall of temporary candidates. This was the steepest decline in temporary candidates since the beginning of last year.

The REC’s Chief Executive, Kevin Green, said: “Finding people to do the jobs on offer is rapidly becoming employers’ biggest headache and many are reporting an increasing number of white-collar jobs as hard to fill, including in the IT and financial sectors.

“Shortages of appropriately skilled, willing and able candidates was a problem before the referendum. Our concern is that Brexit will make the problem worse, particularly if onerous restrictions are imposed on people coming from the EU to work.”

The British Chambers of Commerce also released a survey last week highlighting that companies are facing a shortage of digital skills. Back in January, the BCC conducted the survey of 1,465 people working in SMEs and the manufacturing and services sectors to discover how severe this shortage is.

The survey found that 84% of firms think digital and IT skills are more important to their businesses than they were two years ago. A total of 76% of businesses say they have a shortage of digital skills in their workforce, ranging from 52% at a slight shortage to 3% at a critical one.

Director general of BCC Adam Marshall said business leaders must combat the skills shortage at the risk of impacting their bottom line and getting “stuck in an unproductive cycle, where the failure to take action has serious consequences.

“Government must help as well, by recognising that some of the high-level digital skills businesses need will come from overseas so a pragmatic immigration system needs to be in place to provide firms with access to the workers required to fill the gaps.”

UK employers are increasingly struggling to fill jobs in shops, factories and hospitals according to a new report that suggests the shortfall may be down to fewer EU migrants seeking work in the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and The Adecco Group, which polls more than 1,000 employers. Company bosses are reporting labour and skills shortages throughout the food supply chain as well as in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality.

Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser at CIPD, said, “This is creating significant recruitment challenges in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles,” he said. “With skills and labour shortages set to continue, there’s a risk that many vacancies will be left unfilled which could act as a brake on output growth in the UK in the years ahead.”

When visiting the UK visa bureau website, it lists the occupations that are in shortage: proving that engineering and healthcare are in demand. With the consequences of Brexit becoming apparent day by day, time will tell how these shortages will affect the growth of the UK.

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