The UK jobs market recovery is likely to power through the coming months driven by employers ramping up hiring to deliver on new business plans, according to fresh figures published today.
New data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation shows in the three months to July of this year, a net balance of 29 per cent of employers intend to expand staffing levels.
However, historically high demand for workers could intensify shortages in the labour market over the autumn months.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “We’re well into the recovery now, and our surveys show that demand for labour remains high.”
“Even with a large number of people coming off furlough in August and September, it’s likely that high demand for workers will continue to cause shortages through the autumn.”
The logistics sector is struggling to fulfill delivery orders amid a scarcity of HGV drivers, while greater reticence to return jobs in the hospitality sector due to concerns that roles may not be viable in the long term is hitting pubs, bars and restaurants.
Lingering effects of workers being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app and Track and Trace officials are still temporarily constricting labour supply.
High emigration levels of EU nationals – who have traditionally represented a high proportion of the workforce in the logistics, retail, leisure and hospitality sectors – from the UK heading home after the onset of Covid and the end of the Brexit transition period has intensified labour shortages.
Meanwhile, data from the Confederation of British Industry released this week showed major retailers’ stock levels have plunged to their lowest level since 1983.
High street stalwarts have stopped selling normal services due to friction in their supply chains. McDonald’s announced this week it had stopped selling milkshakes in England, Scotland and Wales, while Gregg’s said it is suffering from a shortage of chicken bakes.
Over one million people are still on furlough, which is restricting chrun in the labour market and limiting the number available workers. The furlough scheme is scheduled to fully wind down at the end of September.
“Hiring businesses need to reassess their plans to make sure they can source the people they need over the months and years to come,” Carberry added.
“That means the right mix of new mid-career hires, temporary staff and trainees or apprentices. Recruitment and staffing firms understand this process better than anyone and are ideally placed to help.”
Businesses’ confidence in the UK economy jumped one percentage point to a net balance of 18 per cent, REC said.