The majority of companies in the manufacturing and service sectors report near-record problems recruiting enough staff, according to a new survey.
More than nine out of ten employers in the hospitality and hospitality sector have difficulty finding staff, according to a survey by the UK Chambers of Commerce of more than 5,600 companies.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the number of job vacancies across the UK hit a 20-year high of 1.1 million between July and September – more than double the number at the start of the pandemic, according to the Bureau of National Statistics.
Adrian Hanrahan is the managing director of Robinson Brothers, a chemical company in West Bromwich.
The company has 260 employees and is currently trying to fill more than 20 vacancies.
Mr. Hanrahan said, “We have hiring problems across the board, I’ve never had anything like it.
“We’re struggling to get people full-time, and we’ve been doing that for some time.
“It encompasses everything from engineering and maintenance to research, customer service and production operators.
“It’s a real challenge. We have raised our salaries and still can’t find them, but we’re a family business and our options are limited.
“Before Brexit and before Covid, we always had one or two vacancies, but this current magnitude is unprecedented. Everyone is looking for people. “
Jane Gratton of the UK Chamber of Commerce called for more targeted post-Brexit immigration measures to help businesses find enough workers.
She said, “It is clear that staff shortages are worsening, affecting both the recovery and growth of manufacturers and service companies.
“Recruitment difficulties mean vacancies remain unfilled and companies struggle to maintain normal operations. While employers are investing more in training, apprenticeships and flexible work, this is not going to improve things overnight.
“We need government assistance to provide a more flexible qualifications system, rapid retraining opportunities and targeted immigration initiatives to fill skills and labor gaps.
“Wage pressures and energy prices also add to the cumulative cost, and there is a limit to how much more can be absorbed before companies are put out of business.
“If steps are not taken to address the growing problems posed by this data, businesses will also have extreme difficulty in meeting demand and consumers will see further reductions in the goods available to them as the winter progresses and determine services. “
The warnings about the manufacturing and service industries come after UK careers bosses said they are having difficulty recruiting and retaining staff.
According to the industry association Skills for Care, more positions – around 100,000 of them – are now vacant than before the Covid pandemic.
There is also a lack of truck drivers, warehouse staff and slaughterhouse workers.