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Struggle to fill job vacancies worsens at fastest rate for 24 years – survey

Written by on 08/07/2021

Employers are facing the biggest deterioration in the availability of candidates to fill new roles for more than two decades, new figures show.

A monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG said a pick up in the pace of hiring in June – together with Brexit and pandemic-related uncertainty – weighed on candidate numbers.

Key sectors such as hospitality, food, driving and IT faced shortfalls, the report said, as demand for workers increased sharply thanks to the reopening of the economy.

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The availability of workers to fill jobs declined at the fastest pace since the survey began 24 years ago.

That helped to drive a rapid increase in starting pay rates, the report also found, as both permanent appointments and temporary billings increased sharply.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry said: “Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy.

“The jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time.

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“We can’t yet tell how much the ending of furlough and greater candidate confidence will help to meet this rising demand for staff.”

Claire Warnes, partner at KPMG UK, said: “As we move towards the final easing of pandemic restrictions, permanent role availability increased at the quickest rate since the survey began in 1997 and temporary roles rose to the greatest extent for 23-and-a-half years.

“But for the fourth month running we’re seeing a decline in the availability of candidates to fill all these new roles and the most severe deterioration for 24 years.

“We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers now more than ever, as the increasing skills gap in the workforce has the potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery.”

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The figures come a day after the government said it would temporarily extend the limit on hours that can be worked by lorry drivers in order to alleviate problems caused by the shortage.

Meanwhile, a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce on Thursday also pointed to employers facing increasing recruitment difficulties.

Last week, CBI president Lord Bilimoria warned that employers were facing a “perfect storm” of factors creating staff shortages.

 Sky News

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