Nearly three quarters, or 72%, of UK firms reported recruitment difficulties in Q4 2019 according to the latest quarterly Recruitment Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with Totaljobs.
The survey also showed that 55% of firms were looking to hire during the quarter.
Shortages during the fourth quarter were most apparent in the construction and hospitality sectors, with 79% and 77% respectively struggling to recruit. Two thirds, or 67%, of construction businesses attempted to recruit in Q4, up from 62% in Q3. The report stated that in both these sectors and others, uncertainty over the UK’s future immigration regime continues to be a concern.
Looking ahead, 26% of UK firms say they plan to increase their workforce in the first quarter of 2020. The construction industry reports the highest proportion of firms looking to grow their headcount (34%).
“The report’s findings highlight the need to address critical skills shortages in the upcoming Budget, including commitments to long-term funding for vocational education and for apprenticeships in small and medium-sized businesses both of which are crucial to the government’s ambition to ‘level up’ opportunities across the UK,” the British Chambers of Commerce stated.
Adam Marshall, Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, said, “Although it is encouraging that businesses are looking to take on people, the prolonged skills shortages they’re facing are not sustainable as they try to shake off years of political uncertainty and pursue growth.”
“Training has got to be at the heart of the upcoming Budget if the government wishes to demonstrate that it is serious about ‘levelling up’ opportunity all across the UK,” Marshall said. “Funding boosts are needed for vocational and technical education, for apprenticeships, and for incentives to help more employers provide high-quality job-related training.”
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