Recruitment problems at 'record highs' as companies struggle to hire new staff

recruitment A builder working for Taylor Wimpey builds a roof on an estate in Aylesbury, Britain, February 7, 2017.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
The construction sector is facing the biggest challenge when it comes to recruitment. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters (Eddie Keogh / Reuters)

The UK’s economic recovery is at risk as three out of four companies struggle to hire new recruits, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The construction sector is facing the most severe recruitment challenges, closely followed by production and manufacturing and hospitality, a survey of 5,700 businesses showed.

The BCC said around 61% of firms were looking for staff in the second quarter, similar to 60% in the first quarter. But 76% were reporting difficulties.

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BCC head of policy Jane Gratton said: “Businesses remain under huge pressure to fill jobs, but record levels of recruitment difficulty are showing no signs of improvement. Solutions are urgently needed so that firms can keep their doors open throughout these tough times.


“We have written to the government outlining a three-point plan on how they can work with businesses to solve this.

“Firms must be encouraged to find new ways of unlocking pools of talent – by investing more in training their workforce, adopting more flexible working practices, and expanding use of apprenticeships.

In the face of rising business costs, fewer than one in three firms said they have increased their investment in the last three months.

Gratton added: “There are 1.3 million unfilled jobs in our economy and now fewer people in the workforce than before the pandemic.

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“This is holding back productivity and growth, and employers are at their wits' end.

“It is putting livelihoods at risk and damaging the economy.

This week the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Tony Danker, wrote an open letter to the Tory party asking them to prioritise economic growth.

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