London labour market skills gap continues as red tape hinders overseas hiring

Chris Papadopoullos
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Red tape stops London skills gap being plugged (Source: Getty)
London businesses are struggling to re­cruit people with the right skills and have called for cuts to red tape to make it easier to employ from abroad.

Survey figures released today by the London Chambers of Commerce show that 54 per cent of firms looking to recruit over the past three months had difficulties, up from 52 per cent in the last quarter of 2014. Skilled manual or technical staff were the most difficult to recruit, followed by professional and managerial staff and clerical workers.

These recruitment issues are coupled with growing pressure to increase wages – a quarter of London firms reported increased pressure to raise wages over the past three months, meaning pressure from employees to increase wages is now the main cost pressure facing London businesses, ahead of energy prices and raw material costs.

“For the second successive quarter, businesses have told us that they are facing significant issues recruiting staff with the right skills. This means that increasingly, businesses need to look outside of the domestic labour market for the staff they need,” said Peter Bishop, deputy chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Making it easier for businesses to recruit from overseas is critical, we must see a reduction in the red tape associated with recruiting non-EEA workers and exempt foreign students from the net mig­ration target, restoring their right to work in the UK after graduating.”

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