Skills shortages force SMEs to pay higher salaries

New research from the REC has revealed permanent vacancies to be at a 27-month high but skills shortages and market uncertainties are making them difficult to fill

Skills shortages force SMEs to pay higher salaries

Finding the perfect employees for a startup has never been easy. But now it seems as if sourcing talent has become even trickier with huge skills shortages forcing SMEs to boost salaries to attract workers. That’s according to a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for UK recruitment businesses.

Drawing on original survey data provided by 400 recruitment consultancies, the REC has revealed that the overall demand for staff was at a 23-month high in July. During this period, the number of vacancies for permanent jobs grew to their highest levels in 27 months. At the same time, growth in temp job opportunities increased to a near two-and-a-half-year high. 

However, finding suitable candidates to fill these roles is easier said than done, with 43.4% of recruiters saying that the availability of workers worsened between June and July. The shortage was particularly bad in sectors like accounting, engineering, hotels, IT and healthcare, leaving 90% of British businesses having difficulties in hiring people.

Commenting on the findings, Kevin Green, chief executive at the REC, said: “It’s clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks.” He noted that sectors struggling to find staff are also the ones particularly reliant on EU workers and that Brexit uncertainties are forcing many workers to return to their native countries. “We can’t ignore the importance of our relationship with the EU to employers,” Green continued. “If we want to keep our jobs market successful and vibrant, we must make it easier, not harder, for employers to access the people they need.”

Given that finding staff is increasingly becoming more difficult, it seems as if entrepreneurs may have to be prepared to open their chequebooks to entice new employees.


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