Our Top 5 Tips for Job Seekers in the Current Labour Shortage
The country's labour shortage is one of the hot topics right now. No doubt as a worker you are being bombarded with new job offers with increasingly enticing benefits every day. How could you as a worker make the most of what is most definitely a candidate-driven market?
Paul Jackman, Thorn Baker Group
We’ve all seen the impact from the severe shortage of HGV drivers on everything from our local supermarket shelves to our pharmacies to possibly not having turkey this Christmas.
This is not a Talent or a Skills Shortage (although, that has long been the bane of the construction and technical markets) – this is a Nationwide Labour Shortage.
There are simply not enough people looking for work in this country to fill all the jobs available.
Jobs in the UK: What are the numbers saying?
The ONS’s vacancies and jobs in the UK October report said that in July-September:
- Job vacancies were at a record high of 1,102,000
- 12 out of 18 job sectors saw an increase
- All sectors are above or equal to their pre-pandemic levels, food and accommodation services seeing the biggest rise of 59%
- All industries had a record number of vacancies
- Unemployment is currently at 4.6%
- Employment is at 75.2%
- Nett Migration is at minus 10% (more leaving than arriving), with an estimated 1.3 million EU nationals have left the UK in the last 12 months
- Average pay has increased by 7.4% (excluding bonus payments)
However, the rate of vacancy growth is beginning to decrease, with a rise of 27.7% it is down from the previous quarter (38.9%).
As recruitment specialists this is a trend we can confirm, the difficulties of Summer do indeed seem to be easing.
As a Group we work across a broad range of industries and the conversation with the offices has been that although it is still tough market conditions are getting better. Applications are increasing, advertising spending has eased (a little) and candidates are once again asking what work we have available.
And the announcement this week the UK’s “national living wage” is to go up to £9.50 an hour from next April, meaning a pay rise for millions of low-paid workers. This is a 6.6% increase from £8.91, which applies to workers aged 23 and over. For those aged 21 to 22, the minimum will increase from £8.36 to £9.18.
So, if things are looking brighter why do we still seem to have an issue?
Is migration the easy answer?
This could be seen as a yes and a no answer. On the surface, it would be simple to blame Brexit and the difficulties around worker visas. However, according to Alan Manning, economist and professor of economics at the LSE we need to look at it from a different view – are there not enough people to do the job or do people not want to do the job (because of poor pay and/ or conditions)?
In his blog, Alan Manning discusses these issues more in-depth and it’s a great read, you can see it here.
A summary for you is that:
- The Pandemic: At the end of June 2021 there were still 1.9 million workers on furlough from 580k employers, some of them in the same sectors that are also reporting shortages.
- Brexit: Some European workers have returned home, or perhaps they believe they now have better options elsewhere. ‘One horticultural company quoted a loss of 25% of staff since Jan 2021 due to those returning to Europe as pay is now much better in Norway’.
- IR35: It has forced many drivers to swap their status resulting in falls in the income of up to 25%
What ‘real life’ top tips could benefit you right now?
There’s no denying it’s tough out there at the minute, but there are things you can do to help your job search.
- Think about your career goals. What kind of career do you want? Which job/s appeal to you in the long term? If you’re just about to enter the job market this is a key moment to figure exactly what you are looking for. In the current market, you will have a whole host of options in front of you, it could be as simple as indoors vs. outdoors or maybe you like to be active and the thought of being at a desk is just not appealing. These steps can help you narrow your job search to positions you are passionate about and will help you advance professionally.
- Be bold in your applications. Maybe you really like the sound of a particular job but you only fulfil some of the requirements. Now is the time to take that risk, employers are definitely thinking outside the box in terms of transferable skills.
- Been thinking about upskilling? This is a great time to look at taking a course to help develop your career. Maybe this is something you could talk to your Manager about if you’re currently in a job, it’s worth asking the question. An employer or a local jobcentre could have access to training funds that you could benefit from.
- Research businesses. Right now you will more than likely have every person and their dog throwing jobs at you, it can be overwhelming. Especially when they have enticing joining bonuses etc. But does that mean you’ll be happy there? Does the company reflect your values and can they offer more in terms of investing in your future than just additional £’s?
- Be confident. As the job seeker, you have a monopoly on the market. Make the most of it. But remember that these markets can and do change, keep in mind if you are working with recruitment agencies who helped you, who understood your needs? Hopefully, you won’t need to get in touch again but it’s always best to shake hands on a good note.
At Thorn Baker Group we’re absolutely committed to improving our recruitment process and helping our candidates find the very best jobs for them during this labour shortage.
Contact the team today to find how they can help you today, or if you know someone looking for work fill out our form here and you'll be entered into a draw to win a £250 Gift Card.