Employers in the UK are struggling to fill vacancies after the sharpest drop for more than a year in the number of available candidates, according to a report that points to more recruitment difficulties ahead once Brexit bites.
The Guardian reports that even before the potential restrictions on immigrants once the UK leaves the EU, firms are reporting skills shortages across a range of more than 60 roles, including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said its latest monthly snapshot of the jobs market found vacancies continued to rise in April for permanent and temporary staff, albeit at a softer pace than in March, reaching their weakest levels for 16 months.
The REC chief executive, Kevin Green, said the continued evidence of skills shortages put the onus on the government formed after June’s election to invest in training and career advice and to ensure employers would still be able to access workers from abroad once the UK left the EU.
“Demand for staff is growing within all sectors and all regions of the UK, but there are fewer and fewer people available to fill the vacancies,” Green said.
“We have the lowest unemployment rate since 2005 and people already in work are becoming more hesitant about moving jobs amid Brexit uncertainty. Meanwhile, the weakening pound and lack of clarity about future immigration rules is putting off some EU nationals from taking up roles in the UK.”
The report was compiled for REC by the consultancy IHS Markit using data from a panel of 400 recruitment firms. It showed demand for staff rose sharply across the private sector in April, but declined across the public sector. There was a slowdown in the number of people placed into permanent roles but a pick-up in those getting temporary or contract roles. The pace of expansion for temporary placements was the fastest since December.