BCC: Firms facing acute hiring crisis

Commenting on the ONS Labour Market statistics for September 2021, BCC Head of Economics, Suren Thiru, said:

“The jobs market has continued its summer revival as demand for workers has surged following the easing of Covid restrictions.

But record vacancies also highlight the acute hiring crisis faced by many firms. With Brexit and Covid driving a more deep-seated decline in labour supply, the end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages.

“These recruitment difficulties are likely to dampen the recovery by limiting firms’ ability to fulfil orders and meet customer demand.

“Although the peak in unemployment will be lower than previous downturns, with rising cost pressures and an increasingly onerous tax burden likely to stifle firms recruitment intentions, a notable rise in job losses as furlough ends remains probable.

“Consequently, we expect the UK’s unemployment rate to rise to a peak of 5.1% by early 2022 - equivalent to another 174,000 people out of work.

“Whether furloughed workers are returning to the workplace or the wider labour market after the scheme ends, it is vital that employers and the government provide the support and training they need to be re-engaged and productive.

“Expanding the Shortage Occupation List will also help businesses access the skills they need when they can’t recruit locally.”

The full ONS Labour Market data can be found here.

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