Recruitment intentions are strong in Q2 2019, but challenges remain
The latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook from Totaljobs and the British Chambers of Commerce reveals insights from 6,500 UK businesses:
- Six in 10 UK businesses attempted to recruit new hires in Q2 2019, an increase from 53% in Q1.
- 64% of businesses struggled to find the right people when recruiting in Q2 – a drop from 73% in Q1.
- 30% of employers expect to recruit in the next three months, showing intentions to hire remain strong.
Hiring intentions remained strong in the second quarter of 2019, despite ongoing uncertainty around the UK economy. In fact, recruitment increased from 53% in Q1 to 60% in Q2 of this year. On another positive note, fewer businesses are experiencing difficulties hiring the right staff, reporting a fall from 73% in Q1 to 64% in Q2. This figure is still at a historic high however, and businesses continue to look for ways to plug skills gaps and attract the best talent.
In particular, technical, managerial and certain unskilled roles (50%, 49% and 26% respectively) are proving challenging to recruit for. For the construction and hospitality industries, difficulties in hiring the right staff remain particularly high – at 77% and 74% respectively.
Despite an uncertain economy, only 7% of businesses expect their workforce to decrease; 63% predict the size of their workforce will remain constant over the next quarter. Nearly a third (30%) state that they plan to expand their labour force; for the construction industry, this increases to 38%.
780,000 jobs were advertised on the Totaljobs website in Q2 2019, with an average of 17 applications for each role advertised. Hospitality proves to be a popular sector, attracting 147,000 applications in Q2, and a further 1.7 million in transport and distribution vacancies.
Claire Walker, Co-Executive director at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“In the face of sluggish growth and political uncertainty, the jobs market has been a positive for the UK economy. The quarter saw a pick-up in attempts to recruit and an easing of recruitment difficulties, although levels are high by historic standards and remain a cause for concern.
“Demand for seasonal workers, many of whom have traditionally come from the European Union, highlights the importance of the new government quickly setting out a sensible post-Brexit immigration policy, that reflects the needs of different sectors and regions in the UK.
“The solution to plugging the UK’s skills gap in the long-term includes reforming the skills education and training system, and giving it time to bed-in. We look forward to working with the new administration to get the system working better for everyone and ensuring firms can access the skills they need to improve growth and productivity.
“To sustain the strength of the labour market, businesses also need clarity on how they will be able to manage their future workforce requirements in the years to come and broader certainty on economic conditions after October 31st.”
Patrick Wehrmann, CEO of Totaljobs, said:
“The labour market continues to weather economic uncertainty, with the vast majority of businesses showing a continued commitment to maintaining or increasing staff headcount. In fact, just 7% of employers expect their workforce to decrease as we head into Q3.
“Notably, while the figure remains high, the proportion of firms reporting a skills shortage has decreased – falling from 73% to 64% in just three months. However, with almost two-thirds of employers still struggling to find the talent their business needs to thrive, this thawing should not be considered as mission accomplished, but rather an opportunity to build upon.
“As a consequence of not only an increasing national living and minimum wage, but also a continued challenge to recruit, it is telling that Q2 2019 saw the fastest rise in real-wage growth in over three years, outpacing inflation and expert predictions. As employers look to attract their next hire, there is an opportunity for people possessing in-demand skills to make significant progress in their career and begin to realise their earning potential.
“In light of this, employers should be mindful of their employer value proposition, and ensure that while salaries remain competitive, they consider more than just pay as a solution to overcoming skills shortages.”