Skills shortages highlighted in care and financial services

New reports highlight staff shortages in the care and financial services sectors amid pressure to do more on diversity and inclusion.

Elderly man in Care


There are more than 100,000 vacancies in the social care sector, according to the annual State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England report.

It has found that more jobs in the sector are unfilled than before the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers at Skills for Care found that employers were failing to fill 8% of posts before the start of the pandemic, a proportion that had fallen to 6% by June 2021, before rising to 8.2% by August – the equivalent of more than 100,000 jobs. The report found that the care workforce is currently 82% female and 27% aged over 55, with 21% of workers from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The staff shortage crisis is having knock-on effects in the NHS, disrupting the discharge of patients back into care and hindering attempts to clear a backlog of 5.6m people awaiting treatment.

Meanwhile, over a fifth of financial services firms have warned that staff shortages are limiting investment in the sector, according to a report by the Confederation of British Industry and PwC. Almost three quarters of financial services companies are actively recruiting new staff to tackle the skills shortage gap, while 78% of firms say upskilling existing staff is a high priority for the sector.

And pubs are reported to be being forced to reduce their food menus as the HGV driver crisis has caused shortages of beer, wine and cheese. Industry experts have also warned that the supply chain issues could also last beyond the Christmas period and well into next year.

The skills shortage has increased the business case for doing more on diversity and inclusion to attract and retain staff, with more emphasis being put on family-friendly support, flexible working and returner initiatives as well as action on pay gaps related to gender, ethnicity and disability.

Analysis by Savanta has found that 42% of black employees have resigned from their job citing a lack of workplace diversity and inclusion, while 28% feel discriminated against by their employer. Among Asian employees, 32% feel discriminated against at work. When quizzed on the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, 30% of all staff said their employer had made them aware that their organisation supported the cause, with 22% saying their employer released a statement addressing the matter. However, 28% said their employer took no measures at all to address the BLM movement.

The analysis comes after Business in the Community’s Race at Work survey found that black candidates are less likely to believe that they are being treated fairly by recruitment agencies. Just three in 10 black, Asian, mixed race and ethnically diverse employees believe they are treated fairly when working with a recruitment agency, compared to five in 10 white workers.

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