REC warns: skills shortages to worsen as UK employment on record high

Talent gaps in the UK are going to become worse as the country’s unemployment figures continues to drop.

That is according to a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The research reveals that UK unemployment has dropped to 5.1%.

While this may be good news for the people in employment, it means recruiters have a smaller talent pool to source from as 82% of companies are planning on increasing their staff headcount in the next three months.

15% of employers in the professional and managerial sector expect a skills shortage in the upcoming months. 14% in the technical and engineering sector, and 13% in the driving and distribution sector said the same.

“Options are running out for organisations that want to take on more staff,” Kevin Green, Chief Executive at the REC, says.

“Schools and hospitals are already facing enormous problems because of a shortage of teachers and nurses. SMEs and big businesses are both feeling the pressure. The need for people to do the jobs available is driving firms to become more innovative and creative in their recruitment strategies.   

“As campaigning begins in earnest around the EU referendum, jobs will be high on the agenda. We urge both sides of the argument to keep in mind that UK businesses must have sufficient access to the global labour market in order to thrive. We need more skilled people to fill job vacancies in the UK, not fewer.”

The REC, the CIPD, CBI and the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) recently spoke out against the planned removal to the Travel & Subsistence tax release. The organisations feared that 750,000 workers, many of who were temporary staff, would be affected by the changes coming into effect in April.

However, the JobsOutlook report revealed that this fear has had little effect on the temporary jobs market. 98% of temporary staff hirers stated that they would either hold (50%) or increase (48%) their existing numbers.

The REC drew on a number of official figures, surveys and internet search data for the JobsOutlook report.

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