UK hiring intentions are at a thirty-year high as organisations struggle to fill vacancies, according to ManpowerGroup’s latest Employment Outlook survey.
The recruiter calculates its employment outlook by subtracting the number of companies who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who do plan to recruit. This now sits at +32%, its highest in three decades.
Tech companies are driving this rush to hire staff, with almost half of digital businesses planning to increase headcount in the first quarter of 2022. The outlook for IT, tech and telecoms is +49%.
Demand for workers in retail and hospitality refuses to abate: these sectors show an outlook of +36% and +47% respectively. In hospitality this is almost double the intention shown in the previous quarter and a 73% increase year on year.
The recruitment giant argues that the impact of people moving roles and a reduced candidate pool driven by Brexit means businesses simply cannot keep up with their staffing requirements.
Chris Gray, director of ManpowerGroup UK said: “Hiring demand has not been met quarter-on-quarter and so hiring intentions continue to grow. The challenges in recruiting staff in warehousing and logistics have been well documented.
“But now we’re seeing growing labour shortages among highly-skilled workers. Those with the in-demand skills hold the power, and have the freedom and flexibility to accept a job that suits their particular needs and expectations. If an opportunity doesn’t suit them, there are plenty more out there.”
Demand for tech specialists has been intensified by increased use of technology in our everyday lives, Gray added: “The acceleration of the British businesses’ digital transformation is increasing the demand for new and emerging skills.
“Supermarkets, shops and restaurants up and down the country are relying on technology to address the fact that they’re faced with a shortage of candidates.
“Not only that but they’re keen to continue their investment in providing shoppers with the convenience, choice and competitive pricing brought on by online ‘pandemic’ shopping.”
London employers reported the most positive hiring intentions, with an outlook of +42%, up 54% year on year.
Gray said London is a “candidate-led market” where employers have to be quick off the mark to secure the best candidates.
“We’re seeing businesses simplifying the interview process by eliminating multiple rounds of interviews and assessments,” he added.
Candidates are keen to know what employers can offer in terms of hybrid and remote working, ManpowerGroup found.
More than half (55%) of finance roles will work in a hybrid mix, and – more surprisingly – 32% of manufacturing and production roles, according to the company’s research.
“With the ongoing changes to government guidance and the uncertainty around new variants of Covid-19, it’s not surprising to see workplaces continue to offer more remote working options,” said Gray.
“What is interesting is the growth of hybrid working in sectors that are traditionally seen as wholly location based, such as manufacturing and production and front office roles.”
ManpowerGroup’s outlook chimes with a number of recent studies looking at the state of the labour market. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation recently warned that the labour market would be “tight for years to come”.