Emerging staff shortages stand to dent businesses’ potential for growth as job vacancies rise, according to figures released this week.
This week’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a record number of available vacancies – 833,000 for June to August 2018 – 44,000 more than the previous year and the highest since comparable records began in 2001.
The unemployment rate was 4.0%, which has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975, and there were 1.36 million unemployed people, 55,000 fewer than for February to April 2018 and 95,000 fewer than for a year earlier. There were 32.40 million people in work, 261,000 more than for a year earlier.
Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain in real terms (e.g. adjusted for price inflation) increased by 0.5% excluding bonuses, and by 0.2% including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) chief executive, Neil Carberry, commented on the figures:
“With employment at record levels, emerging staff shortages have the potential to dent businesses’ potential for growth and expansion. Recruitment businesses are uniquely placed to help ease the pressures that they are facing.
“To ease the burden of candidate shortages on businesses, Government should prioritise reforming the apprenticeship levy to make it an effective skills policy rather than a tax, and deliver a post-Brexit immigration deal that allows people to come from the EU and make a contribution to the UK economy. Employers need clarity that this will be written into the Brexit deal in order to plan future investment and growth.”