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Current Labour Market Conditions – September 2021 Update

Current Labour Market Conditions – September 2021 Update
What are the latest updates in the UK labour market?

The latest press release from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) is full of positives. Confidence is rising, and so is the intention to hire permanent and temporary staff. The positives are referring to the trend changes in labour market statistics over the last couple of years, shown in the image below from February 2019 to July 2021.

According to the figures, confidence in the UK economy and making hiring and staffing decisions remain stable. This is despite increasing demands for top talent as businesses prepare for Christmas amidst staff shortages.

The REC is putting pressure on the government to recognise the labour shortages and the effect on economic growth and confidence trends. They are arguing for more support and a reform of the skills and unemployment systems to help.

Although it is most obviously affecting manufacturing and hospitality, Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC says the shortage of skilled workers is affecting “almost every sector” across the country. She suggests that among the solutions, upskilling the overlooked unskilled workers and installing an immigration system that “has the flexibility to meet employers’ needs" is key.

Overall, just the first week in August saw 1.65million active job adverts in the UK, which is the second-highest weekly figure since December 2020. Since more COVID restrictions are being lifted, near-record numbers of jobs are being advertised. However, employers do not seem to be confident in where they will find the good staff they need. How can they attract potential employees?

The advice from Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, is that businesses “…need to reassess their plans to make sure they can source the people they need over the months and years to come.” This includes using recruiters who have the strategies and resources to help. It's also important to be investing in people who are mid-career, temporary staff, apprentices, and reaching out to passive candidates.

These labour trends are encouraging employers to increase pay and improve working conditions to attract and retain staff. Reducing these hiring issues is something we’re certainly seeing among the businesses in Northamptonshire and Peterborough. A good recruitment firm will be able to advise businesses on hiring additional staff and restructuring current staff and using data and analysis to create long and short-term recruitment strategies.

The good news is that the Home Office has announced that digital right to work checks can continue until 5th April 2022. Neil Carberry announced "Digital right to work checks have been a resounding success during the pandemic... It makes complete sense to extend their use, especially considering the unprecedented labour shortages we are experiencing now."

The REC campaign aimed to extend digital right to work checks so that the hiring processes can be more flexible and reactive. Not only for businesses but to help get jobseekers into work quickly and lawfully. The success of this campaign demonstrates how the REC and recruitment firms, in general, have the interests of businesses and the people who are part of them, at heart.