Labour squeeze shows no sign of cooling before Christmas
Worker shortages that are threatening to throw a spanner into retailers’ Christmas operations show now signs of cooling.
Over the last week, 235,000 job postings were created online, with a noticeable jump in demand for sales and retail workers, research by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found.
The uplift was partly driven by a 11.9 per cent jump in job postings for retail and sales assistants, as firms brace for the festive period by expanding staffing levels.
The increase in demand for workers will “make competition for staff even more fierce in the coming weeks, with many sectors ramping up their activity as we head towards the Christmas period,” the REC warned.
There is growing concern worker shortages could prevent retailers from delivering normal Christmas services this year.
Panic over empty shelves and fewer product choices over the festive period is intensifying as a result of the UK’s shipping industry falling prey to the global supply chain crisis.
A paucity of HGV drivers has swelled a backlog of crates at the port of Felixstowe. Shipping containers have been sitting idle at the Suffolk port for more than double the average “dwell time” registered last year.
Meanwhile, disruption to the normal functioning of the global supply chain, combined with the enormous logjam at Felixstowe, prompted Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping firms, to dock elsewhere in Europe to avoid heavy congestion.
As a result, fear over depleted Christmas stock supplies is mounting among supermarkets and retailers.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, warned already swelling cost bases caused by high energy, shipping and raw material prices among businesses are likely to grow even more in the coming months.
“Businesses from almost every sector and local area are hiring right now, and with so much competition for staff, many businesses are having to offer increased salaries and benefits to attract the people they need.”