Ultra-low unemployment has resulted in firms in the United Kingdom to experience a struggle in looking for employees, with record job vacancies in the hospitality and health industries.
The Office for National Statistics said that the total job vacancies amounting to 823,000 were advertised last January. The figure is up by 62,000 on the year. Of the numbers posted, a record 130,000 were in social work and health, and 95,000 in the food and hotel industries.
According to Ian Brinkley, an economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, low levels of unemployment mean that workers in low-paid jobs currently have more choices over where they can work, leaving the employers short on employees.
“This is a very dynamic labour market, so you are bound to see high numbers of vacancies as more people are moving between jobs than they used to,” stated Brinkley.
“At the bottom end of healthcare, social care, and hospitality and leisure, there is very high turnover in jobs with unattractive wages and working conditions.
“It is not skills shortages per se; it is a labour shortage – employers just cannot attract enough people to replace those who leave.” The shortage of workers is hitting investment in the restaurant sector, according to Ibrahim Dogus, chairman of the British Takeaway Campaign. “People have sites where they know they could open a restaurant, but they hold off because they don’t know if they will be able to fill the jobs,” added Brinkley.
Various sectors are dependent on migrant workers to fill in vacancies during recent years, and the inflows have continued despite the warnings regarding a mass exit after the EU referendum.
The number of workers from the European Union in the United Kingdom increased by 101,000 during the past year to 3.5m – down from the level that was observed from 2014 to 2016. However, it is above the average annual increase of 95,000 over the last 20 years.
Recruiters have discovered increased competition from the economies over the Channel.
Tom Hadley of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, stated: “People talk about the EU referendum, but a lot of this would have happened anyway – Poland is booming, their economy is strong, so fewer people need to come to the UK to make the best of their careers.”
He said that the employers should show that jobs in hospitality and care can lead to rewarding careers.