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Mind the gap

10 June 2021

By Liam McConnell

Mind the gap

As recently reported in the national press, the job market is rapidly rising. In fact, it's moving at such a rate there is a shortage of workers to fill a number of vacancies throughout the UK.

With the good weather upon us and restrictions easing, more and more industries are heading positively into the second half of the year and that has led to a significant number of hires being made. In fact, reports by KPMG confirmed the month of May saw the fastest surge in hires for over TWENTY THREE YEARS, sure, we all envisaged a bounce following last year's sharp decline, but this is more like a hope skip and the proverbial jump!

Whilst at first glance, that is an exciting report for the wider economy it does also leave us with a shortage of the most precious commodity. In fact the same survey reported the number of staff needed to fulfil those vacancies fell at the quickest rate since 2017. As KPMG announced, "there is an immediate need to look at the gaps in various skills before the gap widens".

The key industry sectors across the UK that have seen a significant demand for talent are as expected; IT and Computing. This comes as no surprise, with software developing, security improving and AI transforming online activity there has been a long term demand in niche areas for years, the pandemic has only worsened things. However the Hospitality sector has also been hit by the increase in personnel, you'd think that industry would have suffered enough over the past 12 months!

In fact, Hospitality is struggling across some of the most vital areas, waiting staff and primarily Chefs. Surely as a country with a population in excess of 66 million, we should be able to act fast to cut the gap! Despite the ongoing support the staff are nowhere to be seen. The most logical explanations for this downfall is the lack of secure hours offered to staff, a lack of benefits and the result of Brexit and the pandemic forcing workers to return to the native homes.

So according to the results of the survey (which included results from over 400 recruitment and employment firms) it would suggest, as things stand we are in the midst of a rapid economic recovery yet alarm bells are ringing throughout the UK across a plethora of industries because there simply is not enough candidates in the market place.

Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), said: "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."

A government spokesperson said: "Our multi-billion pound plan for jobs, including the Kickstart scheme, is supporting employers across the country to create jobs and help jobseekers get the skills and experience needed to develop their careers and fulfil roles for years to come.

"Additionally, we have increased the apprenticeship hiring incentive to £3,000 per new apprentice hire and our lifetime skills guarantee - worth the equivalent of around £3,400 per person - ensures all adults can gain new skills and qualifications."

Ultimately, the balance is not there. This is not something that will fix itself, my message to you if you are hiring. Say no to lowering your expectations, but find out about your specific market and find value in places you would least expect it.

I've always said it, There is an art to successful recruitment.

LM

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