Seven in 10 businesses expected to face difficulties hiring staff, survey finds

British Chamber of Commerce warns that pre-pandemic skill shortages are “once again starting to bite”.

Seven in 10 businesses are expected to face difficulties finding staff, a poll of employers has found, as the UK sees a surge in the number of firms expecting to grow their workforces.

The latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook survey from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) found that in the second quarter of this year, 70 per cent of firms looking to bring on new staff said they were facing recruitment difficulties.

This was up from 63 per cent in the in the first quarter of the year, and 53 per cent in 

The construction sector was struggling the most with 82 per cent of firms facing recruitment difficulties. This was closely followed by hotels and catering (76 per cent) and manufacturing (68 per cent).

This coincided with an overall increase in the percentage of employers who said they were intending to recruit, which increased to 52 per cent, up from 40 per cent in the previous quarter.

While the production and manufacturing sector had the highest percentage of firms looking to recruit – 64 per cent, up from 50 per cent the previous quarter – hotel and catering firms saw the largest increase in the proportion of businesses looking to take on staff, jumping to 51 per cent up from just 21 per cent the previous quarter.

As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, labour shortages that existed before the pandemic were once again starting to bite.  The encouraging increase in job creation across the manufacturing and services sectors is being held back by recruitment difficulties at all skill levels, jeopardising growth and productivity.

While adopting remote and flexible training practices could help firms attract skills, businesses also needed access to “rapid and agile” training and reskilling opportunities, as well as a flexible and cost effective immigration system.

The survey found firms were missing a mix of skilled and unskilled labour. Among production and manufacturing firms that were recruiting, 65 per cent and 62 per cent respectively reported they were having trouble filling skilled technical roles, and in both these sectors 42 per cent were finding difficulty looking for unskilled labour.

Among retail firms, 43 per cent had issues finding skilled roles, 39 per cent struggled with managerial roles and 35 per cent unskilled roles.

However, in professional services and marketing and media firms, the problem was overwhelmingly management talent (69 and 60 per cent respectively).


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