Two in five organisations are struggling to fill vacancies, but hospitality firms are more than twice as likely as other industries to be experiencing recruitment challenges.
This is according to the Office for National Statistics, which found that 30% of hospitality businesses were finding job openings more difficult than normal to fill between 23 August and 5 September 2021, compared with 13% across all industries.
The water (27%) and health (23%) sectors were also finding it more difficult than normal to recruit in late August, while 15% of transport and storage firms reported hiring challenges mainly due to reports of a shortage of HGV drivers.
Overall, 41% of businesses across all industries, excluding those with fewer than 10 employees, were finding it difficult to recruit during the period, up from 32% earlier in August.
Earlier this week, the ONS revealed that job vacancies had topped one million for the first time since records began in 2001, seeing an increase of 35.2% on the previous quarter. There were 3.4 vacancies for every 100 employee jobs.
The number of people on company payrolls was around the same as it was in February 2020, before the pandemic hit. However, there were 6% fewer people on hospitality payrolls and 10.2% fewer arts and recreation sector staff.
A lack of suitable applicants was the main reason for firms being unable to fill vacancies, the ONS’s latest data showed, with the number of EU nationals employed in the UK falling 8.7% between January to March 2020 and April to June 2021.
One in four employers experiencing recruitment challenges said a shortage of EU applicants was a factor, rising to 46% of transport and storage firms.
Forty-seven per cent of transport and storage businesses said their recruitment challenges were for “other reasons”, which the ONS said included border controls and difficulties obtaining HGV driving licences.
Regionally, recruitment activity in London is behind the rest of the UK. By 10 September 2021, the number of online job adverts in the North East was 72% higher than in February 2020, but only 12% higher in London. The number of people on payrolls in London remained 1.8% lower in August 2021 than in February 2020, but elsewhere payrolled employment has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
According to a survey of more than 2,700 organisations by HR and payroll software firm SD Worx, many firms are looking to fill job openings internally. Seventeen per cent are recruiting and promoting more from within as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an average of 47% of vacancies being filled from existing ranks of people.
“While businesses have been reinvigorated as we emerge from Covid-19 restrictions, they are now facing scaling challenges. Hiring drives and talent shortages in the market are putting pressure on HR professionals to fight for the right people in the war for talent,” said Colette Philp, UK HR country lead at SD Worx.
Online talent sourcing firm Talent.com has found that three-quarters of hiring managers have experienced an increase in hiring costs since January 2021.
“As the war for talent intensifies, and recruitment strategies evolve, recruitment budgets must be directed in a targeted and effective way for businesses to benefit from any tangible return on this investment. When talent is so thin on the ground, only the most tactical approaches will penetrate your intended audiences,” said Noura Dadzie, VP sales UK and international markets at Talent.com.
“Recruitment budgets must be directed in a targeted and effective way if businesses are to benefit from any tangible return on this investment. Blindly boosting job ads and subscribing to every service offered will not bring candidates through the doors. When talent is so thin on the ground, only the most tactical approaches will penetrate your intended audiences.”