Close

Labour market

Access to skills and labour is one of the most important issues facing UK business communities right now. We do research on a range of issues affecting the labour market, including skills, training, and employment policy.

The Chamber Network also produces an annual Workforce Survey covering the most relevant topics relating to employers and their staff. Read some of our most recent work on the UK's labour market.


Remove blockers in the skills system to alleviate recruitment struggles, says BCC and Indeed

Remove blockers in the skills system to alleviate recruitment struggles, says BCC and Indeed

New research by the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with global job site Indeed, reveals the increasing time it’s taking businesses to recruit the skills they need, emphasising the importance of removing blockers in the training system to develop a pipeline of talent.

Find out more
Quarterly Recruitment Outlook Q1 2019

Quarterly Recruitment Outlook Q1 2019

Recruitment intentions were strong in the first quarter of the year but nearly 75% of firms reported a shortage of suitable candidates, according to the landmark publication of the Quarterly Recruitment Outlook released by the British Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Totaljobs.

The inaugural report finds that businesses are showing strong hiring intentions overall, although there were sector and location variances. However, recruitment difficulties are prevalent across all categories.

The results show that half of business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies (49% respectively) tried to find staff in the previous three months. The construction sector showed the strongest appetite for labour growth, with 65% of respondents attempting to recruit but four-fifths of those struggled to find the right people.


Find out more
Mental health at work becoming less taboo

Mental health at work becoming less taboo

Almost 30% of businesses have seen an increase in the number of staff taking time off for mental health reasons, according to a survey conducted by leading business organisation British Chambers of Commerce, and Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer.

One in three (33%) business leaders have also noticed an increase in the length of time that staff are taking off due to mental health issues.

The survey, of over 1,000 business leaders from every region and nation of the UK, suggests that firms are more aware than ever of mental health concerns in the office, and that the topic is becoming less taboo for both employees and employers alike.




Find out more
Workforce Survey 2018: UK set for a pay rise

Workforce Survey 2018: UK set for a pay rise

One in two businesses (50%) are set to grant staff pay rises of over 2% in the next year, according to a new survey by the BCC and online recruitment company Indeed.

The survey, of over 1,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors, reveals that 6% of firms will increase pay by more than 5%, 32% by 2-5%, 12% in line with consumer price inflation, and 18% by 1-2%.

Only 2% of firms say that they expect to decrease salaries – set against a backdrop of increasing upfront business costs.


Find out more
Workforce Survey 2018: Training and flexible working key to staff retention

Workforce Survey 2018: Training and flexible working key to staff retention

Aside from staff pay, firms are more likely to increase their investment in training, and introduce more flexible working practices, in order to retain staff, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce and recruitment company Indeed.

The survey, of over 1,000 businesspeople across all sizes and sectors, shows that just under half (42%) of businesses would invest in training and developing their staff in order to increase staff retention, while 38% would look to introduce flexible working practices, from flexible hours and remote working to job-sharing.





Find out more
Workforce Survey 2017: Apprenticeship Levy

Workforce Survey 2017: Apprenticeship Levy

BCC’s annual workforce survey, held in partnership with Middlesex University London, found that six months after its introduction, businesses are still in the dark about how best to utilise the Apprenticeship Levy.

The research found that nearly a quarter (23%) of levy-paying firms have no understanding of the Apprenticeship Levy or don’t know how their company will respond to it. Businesses with a pay-bill of less than £3m fall under the levy threshold but can still apply for apprentice funding, yet the findings of the survey show 66% of these companies haven’t taken any direct action to use the funds or don’t know about it.

The findings reinforce the need for clearer guidance and support for businesses wanting to utilise the Apprenticeship Levy.


Find out more here
Workforce Survey 2017: Skills Shortages

Workforce Survey 2017: Skills Shortages

BCC’s workforce survey of over 1,400 businesses, held in partnership with Middlesex University London, reveals that half of UK businesses have faced skills or labour shortages in the last year, but only a minority are actively looking overseas to fill vacancies.

According to the findings of the survey, two-in-five (40%) UK businesses have employees from other EU countries on their workforce, while 23% have employees from outside the EU. 38% of businesses say future restrictions on the rights of EU nationals to work in the UK would have a negative impact on their business.

The results challenge the myth that UK firms are ignoring local workers in favour of overseas labour.


Find out more here
Workforce Survey 2017: Impact of Employment Costs

Workforce Survey 2017: Impact of Employment Costs

The survey, held in partnership with Middlesex University London, reveals that pensions auto-enrolment, National Living Wage and the Apprenticeship Levy have increased the cost base of businesses, and could lead to reduced opportunities for investment and wage growth.

The rise in the National Living Wage (NLW) in April of 2017 has increased employment costs for one-in-two companies (50%) in the UK. There appears to be a North/South divide, with firms in the North of England (55%) and the Midlands (51%) more likely to be impacted by the National Living Wage than firms in the South (43%).

The BCC is calling on the government to ensure no new upfront costs or taxes – which sap investment, growth and recruitment potential – are imposed on business for the remainder of this parliament.

Find out more
BCC responds to Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence

BCC responds to Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence

The BCC has responded to the Call for Evidence on the Migration Advisory Committee's commission to examine the economic and social impact of the UK's exit from the European Union, and on how the UK's immigration system should be aligned with a modern Industrial Strategy.

The evidence provided in this submission is based on the results of the BCC’s 2017 Workforce Survey. In the report, we have included evidence submitted by Accredited Chambers of Commerce highlighting the results of engagement with businesses in their locality and the needs of individual regions and sectors.

The BCC has made recommendations on three key areas:

  • Access to Skills and Labour
  • Certainty
  • Low Skilled Workers, Sector Deal and Student
Find out more
The BCC is campaigning to fix the fundamentals of the UK economy.

The BCC is campaigning to fix the fundamentals of the UK economy.


Many of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the UK economy, including the growing skills gap, have little or nothing to do with the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Find out more
Improving Candidate Quality: Three Steps to Finding the Best Fit Candidate

This is a guest blog post from Indeed. Indeed is the #1 job site in the world1 with over 250 million unique visitors2 every month. Indeed strives to put jobseekers first, giving them free access to search for jobs, post CVs, and research companies. Every day, Indeed connect millions of people to new opportunities. Visit the Indeed blog for data trends, insights and tips for employers.

Remove blockers in the skills system to alleviate recruitment struggles, says BCC and Indeed

New research by the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with global job site Indeed, reveals the increasing time it’s taking businesses to recruit the skills they need, emphasising the importance of removing blockers in the training system to develop a pipeline of talent.

BCC comments on review of immigration proposals

Mike Spicer, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), comments on the announcement that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review and advise on salary thresholds for the future immigration system.

BCC comments on inflation figures

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) comments on the inflation statistics for May 2019, published today by the Office for National Statistics.