Over a million job vacancies advertised amid pingdemic

Staff shortages in sectors from retail to nursing and childcare are being worsened by the pingdemic, according to surveys.

Young child playing with toys in a childcare setting


Over 1.1 million job vacancies are still open as the pingdemic worsens the UK worker shortage, according to new research.

A study by global job search engine Adzuna found 1,116,454 advertised job vacancies between 19th – 25th July, with 72,244 marked as ‘urgent’ or requiring an ‘immediate start’. At the same time nearly 700,000 (689,313) NHS Covid-19 app users were ‘pinged’.

Adzuna says retail has been particularly affected, with 30,958 advertised job openings, up 14% compared to just four weeks ago (27,139). Furthermore, the pingdemic has led to supermarket Iceland announcing plans to recruit an extra 2,000 staff to cover staff absences that have led to some stores having to close. M&S has warned of potentially needing to reduce its opening hours.

The Government has released a list of sectors who are exempt from the need to isolate after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app – including emergency services workers, border control staff, and workers involved in food production among others – but in most other sectors, the guidance until 16th August is still for workers to isolate if pinged.

To attract workers, an increasing number of employers are advertising perks such as signing bonuses, says Adzuna. Tesco, for instance, has announced that new HGV drivers joining before 30th September 2021 will receive a bonus of £1,000. Asda is also offering a £1,000 signing bonus to HGV drivers in some locations as well as offering a drivers apprenticeship programme.

The trend is also apparent in the Healthcare & Nursing sector. Elysium Healthcare is offering a welcome bonus of £5,000 for registered nurses, while The Priory Group is offering £5,000 for mental health nurses. Meanwhile, Care provider HC One is offering registered night nurses a signing bonus of £10,000.

There are also hundreds of openings on Adzuna offering signing bonuses for care workers, chefs and nursery staff – among other roles affected by the pingdemic. In total, 4,852 advertised vacancies are currently offering a ‘welcome bonus’ across the UK.

The Early Years Alliance says that in the childcare sector more than four in 10 nurseries, pre-schools and childminders in England have had to fully and/or partially close at least once since 1st June due to self-isolation requirements, with nearly a third having to fully close at least once.

It says around nine in 10 of early years providers deliver places for critical worker families (where at least one parent is a critical worker), with critical worker children accounting for more than a third of total places offered on average.

The EYA says over nine in 10 providers believe that the early years sector should be included on the self-isolation exemption list and it is calling for this to be done as a matter of urgency, saying childcare is critical for workers to be able to do their jobs.

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