Jobs Increase but Skills Shortage Bites

A strong bounce back in the jobs market in May is great news as this is a strong indicator of a recovering economy. But despite the jobs increase happening at its fastest rate in 23 years, the deterioration in staff supply intensified this month, with overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017.

So while we focus on the good news of a rapid recovery in the jobs market, it is important to consider the consequences of a shortage of skilled candidates. Pre pandemic, there was already a skills shortage in the UK. Whilst the pandemic has exacerbated this, we are also contending with a new points-based immigration system as freedom of movement between the UK and EU ended in 2020. A shortage of candidates is now the most pressing issue in the jobs market and employers need to think about how they can attract the staff they need and the best route to finding these employees.

Staff Appointments in May 2021

The permanent placements index stood at 67.4 in May (50 signals a higher number of placements/billings than the previous month). This is the fastest rate at which the permanent placements index has risen since the previous peak in October 1997. The North of England saw the sharpest increase at 71.1, but London was not far behind at 67.9.

The seasonally adjusted Temporary Billings Index remained well above the neutral 50.0 level. This latest upturn is also the sharpest seen since February 2015. The sharpest rise in temp billings was seen in the North of England, followed by the South, and with London remaining quite static.

Vacancies in May 2021

Vacancies are on the rise for the fourth consecutive month. They have jumped from 68.8 in April to 70.7 in May. The private sector is fairing slightly better than the public sector. This was across both permanent and temporary vacancies. The number of total vacancies across the UK stood at 657,000. This is the highest level since the three months to March 2020.

Which sectors are hiring?

As always, IT and Tech tops the list. Coming in at a close second were Hotel and Catering. Which is a nice turnaround after spending most of pandemic at the bottom of the table. In fact, all sectors are seeing positive growth in permanent vacancies. While the largest growth in temporary vacancies sits with blue collar.

Available Candidates

The supply of workers across the UK fell for the third month running in May. This was the quickest deterioration recorded for four years. A shortage in skills, lingering pandemic uncertainty and the furlough scheme are all factors weighing heavily on permanent candidate availability.

Salaries

Permanent salaries increased at their quickest rate for 32 months; a direct link to competition for scarce candidates and a generally low supply of workers. Data from the Office for National Statistics signalled that employee earnings (including bonuses) rose +4.0% on an annual basis over the first quarter of 2021.

Whilst this report makes for good reading, the UK skills shortage is fast becoming a major barrier to hiring. Understanding the best routes to find the skilled staff your business needs is essential. Particularly in a market that is heavily balanced in favour of the candidate. The team at Amdas are ideally placed to help your business find the right candidates for your roles. Amdas has decades of experience under their belt and a pool of highly talented candidates at their fingertips. If you would like to find out more, contact us at info@amdas.co.uk