Phil MeekinView Profile
Vacancies continued to rise in April for permanent and temporary staff according to the latest figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). Employers up and down the country are struggling to fill their vacancies after the sharpest drop in the number of available candidates for over a year.
This is all the more worrying for businesses and recruiters as any potential restrictions on workers from the EU because of Brexit have not yet kicked in. REC chief executive, Kevin Green, commented on the most recent figures; “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.”
The demand for staff is growing across all sectors including engineers, IT specialists, care workers and accountants and the demand is rising particularly fast in the private sector. As demand is growing and vacancies are rising, many companies are turning to temporary workers to fill the gap until they can find a more permanent solution as there was a rise in the number of temporary and contract roles filled in April.
The rise of temporary worker employment will come as bad news for UK workers who are already struggling financially due to having to take on work through zero hours contracts or as part of the ‘gig economy’.
These findings have caused Mr Green to urge the next government to invest in training and careers advice for those looking for work or to better their career and to help employer’s access workers in the EU after Brexit.
It is also likely that Matthew Taylor, who was commissioned by Theresa May last year to review modern employment, will call on the government and employers to make work fair, decent and pay for all.
According to the Guardian, he will say; “Over recent decades, government work policy has focused primarily on getting people into jobs… Yet persistent scandals of bad working conditions, poor legal safeguards and job insecurity suggest that bad work is all too common. We need, therefore, to talk about quality of work and not just quantity.”
As employers struggle to find the staff they need to run their business and rely upon temporary workers to plug the gaps in their company, recruiters and employers are likely to be depending upon the next government to help them find the people they need and provide them with a good Brexit deal to carry on employing those people.
However, employees are likely to be focusing on improvements to their working life through a rise in wages, better flexibility for those with families especially and legal safeguards particularly for those working on zero hours contracts or as part of the self-employed ‘gig economy’.