We’ve just notched up a record-breaking figure in the jobs market. The number of vacancies in the UK topped one million for the first time.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were an estimated 1,034,000 vacancies between June and August this year.
This is a truly remarkable number, considering we have just been through a pandemic (and are not yet out the other side).
Thanks to unprecedented demand in certain sectors – such as accommodation and hospitality – there are vacancies being posted up across the country. Some pubs are closing for part of the week, simply because they can’t get enough staff.
This has put pressure on wages, which are beginning to go up. We’ve written about the shortage of lorry drivers – an area of particular interest for 24-7 Staffing, as we are a specialist driver recruitment agency. A number of employers are offering higher salaries to bring drivers in, and Ocado says the increase in wages will cost it £5m.
So that’s the picture currently.
But something else of significance happens this month, which could potentially ease the situation. At the end of September, the furlough scheme winds up.
Almost 3 million people have moved off furlough since March, but in July there were an estimated 1.1 to 1.6 million still furloughed. These people must be brought back, or let go, therefore releasing a proportion into the jobs market.
Is your furlough about to end?
If your furlough is ending and you are taking redundancy, you may be looking for a new position. Perhaps you could return to work but have decided, after a period of absence, to try something new.
Either way, there are jobs aplenty out there, but there may be a skills mismatch with those coming into the jobs market and the vacancies available.
We’ve mentioned the shortage of drivers. There is a cost to qualifying as an HGV driver and there is a waiting list for drivers to take their test, but the Government is trying expedite this and now 3,000 tests are being taken daily – higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Healthcare is another sector where there is a shortage of qualified professionals. For many, care is a vocation and a number of people choose this route as a new career when they decide to change course. At 24-7 Staffing, we also specialise in the healthcare sector and see first-hand what a rewarding choice this can be.
There are professional qualifications that have to be undertaken, as you would expect. However, if you are already a trained carer but need to update this, at 24-7 Staffing we can help source refresher training for you, as well as help you to sort out DBS checks.
Will the end of furlough cause unemployment?
The success of the furlough scheme means there hasn’t been a big surge in jobless figures during the pandemic, which at one point was predicted to get to 10%. And, as we said, we now have a record number of vacances.
However, the thinktank, the Resolution Foundation, says there is “huge uncertainty about what will happen next” to the jobs market when the scheme ends on 30 September.
If employers are planning not to bring some staff back, but instead to make them redundant, those employees should be aware of their situation and may already be looking for new work.
It is a case of watch this space. But our advice, as recruiters, is this: if you are thinking of changing jobs, or if you have an enforced change coming, then start looking for your new role as soon as possible, and get going with any necessary training, to beat a potential rush.
If you are seeking a new role, please get in touch with the expert recruiters at 24-7 Staffing. We work across Chippenham, Salisbury, Bristol, Wiltshire and the South West, helping clients and candidates find their perfect match.