Concerns rise over skills shortages

A new survey shows that lack of candidates for job openings could stifle the Covid recovery.



Skills shortages in a range of professions are a growing problem, according to the latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs survey.

The survey, compiled by IHS Markit, shows that permanent staff appointments rose at a record pace, while temp billings growth was also historically sharp. Demand for workers increased at the fastest rate for over 23 years.

However, overall candidate availability declined at the quickest rate since May 2017. Lower staff supply and rising vacancies led to further increases in starting pay, with both starting salaries and temp pay expanding at sharper rates than in April.

Lower worker availability was thought to be the result of people being worried to move jobs due to remaining uncertainty over Covid, Brexit and the number of people still on furlough.The report is compiled from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.

The steepest increases in vacancies were seen in IT & Computing and Hotel & Catering.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said: “Now is the time for action. With demand spiking, the skills and labour shortages that already existed in the UK have come into sharper focus – and Covid has only made them worse. This is the most pressing issue in the jobs market right now, and has the potential to slow down the recovery. Employers must think about how they can attract the staff they need, for example by looking at the wage and benefits package on offer – there is particular demand for more flexible and hybrid work. But government also needs to urgently look at improving access to work and opportunities for everyone to participate in training that will lead to a job. This should start with careers information that signals where job openings are being created and funding for the relevant work-related training.”

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