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Government support for skills and retraining is essential to ease recruitment difficulties, according to the latest Labour Market Update from the CBI and West Midlands-based recruitment specialist Pertemps.

The monthly report shows that the number of vacancies continues to grow and highlights significant shortages in certain industries, notably driving and with hospitality, with more pubs, restaurants and other venues open – despite an additional four-week wait for final restrictions to be lifted.

Pertemps Chair Carmen Watson believes a change is needed to get things moving and, in particular, we need to mobilise young people in the jobs market to fill the vacancies vacuum – where there are scores opportunities but very few people to fill them.

“The jobs market continues to increase significantly in both permanent and contingent vacancies. In particular, the hospitality industry is looking more positive,” said Carmen.

“There is also a lot of movement in food manufacturing and for jobs like HGV drivers and workers with digital skills.

“We are, however, experiencing a sea change in candidates’ career choices, as a result of the pandemic, and it’s therefore helpful for employers to liaise with recruiters who can match the right skills for their roles.

“An on-going concern is the economic inactivity rate of young people and we would urge employers to consider greater use of apprenticeships and traineeships to grow our future talent. This will undoubtedly need support from central Government if we are going to fill this vacancies vacuum.”

The latest CBI/Pertemps Labour Market Update shows the number of payroll employees has increased for the sixth consecutive month, up 197,000 in May to 28.5 million. However, still 553,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

Furlough has been successful in limiting job losses through the pandemic, evidenced by the fact that redundancies continue to fall. There has also been an increase of 113,000 in employment in the three months to April 2021 compared to the previous quarter, but still down on the same period a year earlier, by 353,000.  Overall, the employment rate rose by 0.2% to 75.2%.

Other findings:

  • All age groups saw a rise in employment, with those aged 35 to 49 the biggest winners (+71,000), followed by those aged 65+ (+18,000)
  • Youth unemployment fell by 8.7% (51,000) compared to previous quarter
  • Number of self-employed decreased by 20,000 in the three months to April
  • March to May 21m estimated 748,000 – a quarterly increase of 147,000.

Last week, Pertemps highlighted a gulf in the UK currently between available jobs and available people, and is calling on candidates to make the most of the boom in job opportunities as the economy drives forwards after nearly 18 months of interruptions and uncertainty.