UK employers hire workers at slower pace after drop in applicant numbers | UK unemployment and employment statistics

UK employers increased the number of new hires in May at the slowest pace since the start of 2021 after a sharp drop in the number of workers responding to job vacancies.

After an increase in job changes by workers last year, often for higher pay, employers said a shortage of applicants since January was preventing them from filling thousands of vacancies.

The permanent jobs index fell to 59.2 from a high of 71.5 last September, where a reading above 50 indicates growth.

The survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG shows how tight, the UK labor market has become during the coronavirus pandemic. About 500,000 people have left the labor market, many of them due to health problems, since 2019.

While the workforce in France and several other European countries has increased from pre-pandemic levels, the shrinking workforce in the UK has left employers scrambling to find jobs. skilled and unskilled workers to fill vacancies.

Vacancies fell in May for a third consecutive month, but only modestly to remain near record highs, the REC said.

Employers looking for IT and IT staff showed the largest increase in demand for permanent staff in May, the REC said, followed by employers in the hotel and restaurant industry.

The hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit, although the recent disruption at UK airports has highlighted how airlines and airports, which laid off thousands of workers in the first two lockdowns, have struggled recruit enough staff to meet the demand for flights this summer.

The report, which is compiled by S&P Global, was based on responses from around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.

Claire Warnes, spokeswoman for KPMG UK, said: “For more than a year now, we have seen a persistent mismatch between the growing number of vacancies across all sectors of the economy and the insufficient supply of qualified candidates. .”

She said it was possible the figures showed employers were starting to rethink their growth plans now that skills shortages were proving difficult to address.

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Data for the main regions of England showed that demand for staff in the private sector continued to outpace that seen in the public sector in May, with London driving the search for new staff.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of REC, said the large number of people leaving the labor market was a headache for employers that the government should help solve.

“Growth is essential to fund public services and sustainably pay higher wages. Any plan for growth must include actions to help people move out of inactivity, skills reform, support for productivity innovation and targeted immigration reform,” he said.

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