Fears mount over hiring gaps amid ‘Great Resignation’

New research shows growing vacancy gaps in some sectors and increasing appetite for moving jobs.

A row of people on chairs waiting for an interview

 

Advertised job vacancies have topped 1.3 million, with the worst ‘hiring holes’ appearing in Hospitality & Catering and Logistics & Warehouse roles, according to new research, while another poll shows a big rise in people looking to move jobs in the next months.

The research analysed trends in advertised job vacancies on job search engine Adzuna across over 5,500 job titles, looking back to the start of 2021 to expose the sectors and job niches struggling most to hire.

The hiring holes are the result of a combination of factors including a lack of skilled candidates available to fill specialist roles like HGV drivers, falling jobseeker demand for certain positions and strong sector growth outstripping the supply of new candidates in some areas, says Adzuna.

Hospitality & Catering has seen the steepest increase in job ads of any sector since the start of the year, with 85,382 positions open in September 2021, up by 459% since January. This includes advertised openings for bar staff growing 1,313%, jobs for chefs up 729% and positions for waiters rising 577%.

The Logistics & Warehouse sector has seen an uptick of 115% since January. In particular, openings for warehouse workers are up 414%. This is prompting companies to offer higher than ever sign-on bonuses to try and tempt new joiners, with Amazon offering signing bonuses of up to £3,000 in demand areas.

The huge pick-up in HR & Recruitment roles, up 190% since January.

Lorry driver job ads for HGV and LGV drivers have risen 272% since January. Lorry drivers accounted for 1 in 50 job openings available in September.

Adzuna says there is also evidence of other skills gaps forming, for instance, interpreters due to a lack of jobseekers with language skills, and veterinary nurses due to the lockdown pet-buying boom.

The Trade & Construction sector is also suffering from skills shortages, with advertised vacancies up 70.2% since January and demand for labourers up by 102%.

However, some sectors are facing job vacancy falls. They include mental health nurses, down by 74% compared to five years ago, despite the growing mental health crisis and possibly a reflection of budget issues.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, said: “Hiring holes are appearing throughout the UK jobs market and pushing up overall vacancy levels to record highs. A combination of booming sectors, a skills shortage and jobseeker disinterest for some roles has created a recruitment conundrum. Employers are responding by raising wages and offering bonuses, but smaller employers who can’t afford to compete are struggling.”

Poor working conditions need to be addressed

Meanwhile, a report for the think tank Autonomy says 75% of FTSE100 companies cited labour shortages or staff retention issues as a principal risk to their business in the last reporting period [due to the impact on delivery and subsequent loss of clients and income], with Logistics & Transport, Hospitality and Social Care hardest hit and 41% of workers in those sectors reporting that they are considering leaving their job in the next 12 months. Low pay, poor mental health and long working hours are among the reasons given.

The report says company responses to date are “falling short”. Short-term measures taken include bonuses and minor pay uplifts; restructures and intensified workloads; recruitment via agencies; and lobbying for changed regulations to increase the supply of workers. However,  the majority of people in the three key sectors which are worst affected said they had not been offered any incentives to stay by their employers. They also reported that a pay rise, shorter working hours for the same pay, and better in-work benefits such as holiday pay and pensions would keep them working in their current sector.

The report calls for sector level negotiations, involving workforces and their unions, business and government. It says “long-term improvements to future-proof jobs should also follow, such as pay lifts with collective bargaining, decent in-work benefits and a work-life balance that suits the worker”.

Another poll of over 6,000 UK workers by recruiter Randstad shows that close to a quarter of employees plan to resign within the next three to six months, with almost 70% hoping to move job in the next two months. Of those eyeing a new role, just 16% said they were worried about trying to get a new job. Those in construction, tech and logistics were the most confident, with 74% of manufacturing employees confident about moving to a new job immediately. HR, legal, and accountancy professionals were among the least confident.

A Ranstad spokeswoman said part of the problem was burnout and people rethinking their work life balance after Covid.

 



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