When the country voted ‘leave’ in the EU Referendum back in 2016, it was predicted to have an adverse effect on employment statistics in the proceeding years. As suspected, Brexit – compounded by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic – has had a major effect on the labour market and workforce trends. With this shift in political and social climate in mind we are taking the opportunity to break down the current workforce trends to help our audience understand the ongoing situation and prepare for potential changes. Hopefully enabling you to retain quality staff and attract more top candidates.

Although there was a lot of worry and concern about employment being impacted by Brexit, levels actually continued to grow post referendum. This growth slowed however in 2019, but the labour market remained tight, with a large numbers of vacancies. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicated that there may be signs of recovery following the global pandemic. UK job vacancies hit their highest level since the start of the crisis.

labour trends graph

What is the market doing right now?

We are currently experiencing a very buoyant market. The first few months of 2021 have seen the biggest rise in employer’s confidence in hiring since June 2016, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) data. This surge in confidence aligns itself with a surge in employer’s confidence in the UK economy. It seems the job market is beginning to boom!

The pandemic created a positive shift in the view of temporary work. Companies who turned to agency workers, contractors and freelancers for help, are more likely to use these kinds of workers going forward. However, with more jobs flooding the market this is generating a challenge for recruiters. In sectors such as IT, manufacturing and driving, there is a struggle to fill roles.

Recruitment Trends

The current labour market is seeing a rise in organisations struggling with recruitment issues. One of the main reasons for this being the number of EU citizens coming to the UK to work has not increased in line with the recent year’s employment growth.

labour search

Statistics show that many organisations are reporting increased issues with hard-to-fill positions. In response, these organisations are attempting to solve this problem by raising salaries, in particular for new starters and key staff. Many organisations have reported raised salaries to help offset their recruitment difficulties.

The current labour market is forcing organisations to rethink their employee strategies.

EU Workers

The UK is currently faced with a considerable labour shortage due to the mass exodus of overseas workers. Industry figures show that with lockdown lifting, many businesses are struggling to hire. Employers are hiring at extraordinary rates, bigger than we have witnessed in years. This boost in the need for staff coinciding with a mass decline in the numbers of EU workers available, is creating a labour shortage problem.

It is important that employers understand this situation and make preparations for this. Continued access to the skills your organisation needs is vital, during this constantly changing market. Complacency could lead to the demise of an organisation.

The manufacturing, construction, care, and hospitality industries are all at the biggest risk from this major shortage of labour. Statistics show that nearly 60% of foreign workers in the UK manufacturing sector come from within the EU.

Develop Recruitment Strategies

With pressure to provide a more attractive proposition for prospective candidates, organisations are looking at more than just salary increases. Employers are now formulating new strategies for better recruitment practices. Creating more appealing employee offers through financial and non-financial benefits. This enhancement of recruitment strategies not only helps with the short-term employment difficulties, but it will also benefit businesses in the future.

Thanks to the global pandemic (yeah thanks!) the culture of business has evolved, which brings the opportunity for alternative benefits. Flexibility has always been a desirable benefit to prospective applicants and now more than ever, owing to the changes required to meet COVID restrictions, businesses are prepared and able to facilitate more flexible working conditions; and companies can now factor this into an attractive package. It would also be beneficial to consider career development policies, as this is something many crave and most do not receive.

The main advice given to businesses has been to engage with training, apprenticeship programmes and schemes to get people back to work.

Workforce Planning and Development

Workforce planning and development is always important in any organisation. With the current lack of available skills and labour, plus the reduction of free movement within the EU it has now become paramount. During the pandemic, all companies had to dig deep to survive with many unfortunately finding the struggle too much. We may be seeing normality return and businesses can again begin to work as they had before. However, within the current market it is not going to be plain sailing.

Organisations need to have a rigid plan, enabling them to respond to any issue immediately without hindering the business. Employers need to undertake strategic workforce planning; they need to focus on what the company needs now and going forward. Planning to ensure that your company has the right skills and knowledge means that learning and development will not be an issue in the future.

labour planning

Many labour-intensive organisations need to be assured of the number of skilled staff required to keep the organisation running to full capacity. There must be contingency plans for the lack of staff for any reason. Working alongside a recruitment agency or even onsite recruitment is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity.

How Can We Help?

There have been many predictable and other completely unpredictable factors that have created this current market. Whatever the cause, there is no way of changing the current situation the country is in regarding the labour market. So, if your organisation needs help now or possibly in the near future, now is the time to act.

Major Recruitment can provide help in different ways to suit your organisation. We can simply provide you with advice if that is all you need. We can help you create plans for your company’s future by talking you through your markets current situation. We’re constantly monitoring trends and analysing every sector market that we work within (which is a lot, look). This research allows us to create detailed recruitment analysis and strategies specific for your organisation.

We are here to help if you need it, simply find your local branch, and give us a call. It can start with an informal chat, and you can take it as far as you like. We can show you the strategy you need for success. Then put it into place, by finding the right staff for your needs. Whether that’s temporary, temp-perm, or permanent workers. There may be a workforce shortage in the market, but don’t worry, we have a huge database of quality workers that are ready to start immediately.