REC: UK firms witness sharp drop in available candidates

REC: UK firms witness sharp drop in available candidates

UK employers are reeling from the largest drop in available candidates in over a year and are struggling to fill vacancies - ahead of the full impact of Brexit.

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According to a report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), before potential restrictions on immigrants working in the UK have been applied, firms are reporting skills shortages across a variety of roles, including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants – The Guardian reports.

The Markit/REC Report on Jobs found that permanent vacancies slightly slowed in April, whereas posts for temporary billings rose at the sharpest pace for four months. However, the report witnessed the steepest drop in candidate availability for 16 months.

REC’s Chief Executive, Kevin Green, said that the shortfall of candidates requires government intervention to invest in training and career advice and to ensure employers can still access workers from abroad once the UK left the EU.

“Demand for staff is growing within all sectors and all regions of the UK, but there are fewer and fewer people available to fill the vacancies,” Green said.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate since 2005 and people already in work are becoming more hesitant about moving jobs amid Brexit uncertainty. Meanwhile, the weakening pound and lack of clarity about future immigration rules is putting off some EU nationals from taking up roles in the UK.”

Perhaps in a bid to secure talent, hourly pay rates for short-term staff increased at the sharpest pace in 2017 so far. Growth in permanent starting salaries reached a four-month low in April albeit remaining stronger than average.

London had the slowest increase in permanent placements, whereas The Midlands and Scotland had the fastest rates of expansion. Scotland and London led the way in temporary billing growth.

The growth in temporary billings adds to employee fears surrounding unstable work, with controversial zero hour contracts and being categorised as ‘self-employed’, meaning no access to sick or holiday pay.

In response to growing concerns, last year, Theresa May last year commissioned a review of modern employment from Matthew Taylor, the head of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

Ahead of a speech on Tuesday evening, Taylor told the BBC that his review, which will be delivered shortly after the election, will call for a mix of new tax rules and workplace regulations as well as the promotion of a "new norm" around how businesses treat employees.

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