Britain’s employers are struggling with the worst staff shortages since 1997, despite the rush to reopen from lockdown.
Recruitment firms are reporting major problems in hiring across several sectors of the economy, led by shortfalls in areas such as transport and logistics, hospitality, manufacturing and construction.
Sounding the alarm over potential risks to an economic recovery, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said the number of available workers in June plunged at the fastest rate in more than 20-years
As well as the trouble recruiting chefs, kitchen porters, cleaners and warehouse staff recorded in previous months, the figures show that issues for employers were spreading to typically higher-paying sectors such as accounting, finance, engineering and IT.
The rush to reopen after the lifting of pandemic restrictions is leading to bottlenecks. Employers are finding added complications as fewer EU workers travel to Britain because of Covid border controls and the government’s post-Brexit immigration rules.
According to the REC survey of more than 400 recruitment firms, a sharp rise in hiring-demand led to the unprecedented fall in the availability of candidates in June. Recruiters said that increased hiring, pandemic-related uncertainty and the furlough scheme all weighed on the number of jobseekers available.
Official figures show about 1.5 million workers are still furloughed with pandemic restrictions which is limiting a full return to work.