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Labour shortage looms after Brexit and Covid cause exodus of overseas workers

Employers expect post-lockdown jobs boom but some are struggling to fill vacancies, says HR body

Ben Chapman
Monday 17 May 2021 18:00 BST
(Getty Images)

UK employers are facing a shortage of workers as they start hiring again after an exodus of staff caused Brexit and coronavirus, new data indicates.

Employers in all major sectors of the economy expect a post-lockdown jobs boom but some are struggling to find workers, according to The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The HR trade body found that optimism about hiring had soared to an eight-year high, with the number of jobs in the public, private and voluntary sector all set to increase.

The CIPD's survey found that 64 per cent of businesses planned to recruit staff in the three months to June whilse just 12 per cent expected job cuts.

Optimism grew in hospitality as lockdown restrictions eased further from Monday. More than two-thirds of hospitality firms said they wanted to hire more staff in the coming months.

However, the CIPD warned that a rapid decline in the number of EU workers risked fuelling labour shortages.

More positively, wage prospects have improved. Basic pay rises are expected to increase from 1 per cent to 2 per cent in the next 12 months.

Median basic pay expectations in the private sector have increased from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent on the previous quarter, the survey found.

Public sector pay rises are set to come in lower, at 0.9 per cent.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, said: “More jobs and improved pay prospects should give us all reason to cheer, but a solid jobs recovery must be focused on better jobs, not just more jobs.

“To offset the emerging threat of recruitment difficulties, employers should be reviewing not just their recruitment practices, but also the quality of work they offer - such as employment conditions, the possibility of promotion, training opportunities and the right balance of flexibility and security.

“There's more to good work than raising wages.”

The quarterly report's net employment intentions balance, which measures the difference between employers expecting to add jobs and those planning to cut them, hit a score of 27 for the second quarter of 2021, compared with 11 in the first quarter of the year.

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