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Growth in job adverts confirms ongoing talent shortages

Author: Julie Jarvis

Published date: 2021/09

Prs   Growth In Job Adverts Confirms Ongoing Talent Shortages

According to the latest Jobs Recovery Tracker from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), there were a total of 1.66 million active job adverts in the UK in the week of 23-29 August. The last five weeks have seen the highest weekly figures in job adverts since mid-December 2020. 

This stark rise highlights the ongoing shortages of available workers across a broad range of sectors as companies battle to recruit staff amid post-pandemic shortfalls and Brexit rules.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said: “Demand for workers remains very high across the economy and shows no signs of weakening. With businesses in the particularly squeezed food, logistics and hospitality sectors starting to gear up for Christmas, the months ahead could be difficult – even with a large number of people coming off furlough in August and September.”

Demands are being made to extend the Shortage Occupation List to allow more workers from abroad, including the EU, to fill vacancies in critical jobs, particularly those required for supermarkets, fast food restaurants and pubs. Currently, roles covered by the government's approved list include all health professionals, vets, architects, engineers, and scientists.

According to the data from REC, the top 10 occupations by growth in job postings are: 

1. Dispensing opticians - 26.4%

2. Driving instructors - 12.9%

3. Vehicle body builders and repairers - 12.9%

4. Vehicle valeters and cleaners - 9.2%

5. Sales related occupations - 9.0%

6. Water and sewerage plant operatives - 8.6%

7. Veterinary nurses - 8.0% 

8. Postal workers, mail sorters, messengers and couriers - 7.7%

9. Packers, bottlers, canners and fillers - 7.1%

10. Refuse and salvage occupations - 5.9%

Carberry continues: “It is worth remembering that some of this could be short-term. Large numbers of people are finding new work post-pandemic as the economy reshapes. But that realignment will take time, and there is good evidence to suggest that the market will remain tight for some years to come, even if the current crisis passes. Hiring businesses need to assess their workforce plans and work out how they are going to attract and retain the staff they need in the coming months and years. Recruitment businesses are best placed to help with this, as experts in the field. But employers also need the government to work with them in a practical, co-operative way on skills, unemployment and immigration changes in order to get through this crisis.”

The catering and hospitality sector remains one of the hardest hit. A recent Hospitality Hiring Insider report, which gathered views from 250 hospitality employers and 2,000 consumers, revealed that around 21.6% of EU nationals were working in the sector before the pandemic, with this figure falling to 18.7%, equating to a loss of 92,800 people. The REC figures back this up, with job postings for waiters/waitresses and bar staff increasing by 2.8% and 1.8%, respectively between 16-22 August and 23-29 August, indicating there's a long road to recovery ahead for the sector. 

Are you looking for catering and hospitality staff?

If you’re looking to secure hospitality and catering staff for your business, get in touch with the experts at PRS. Call us on 0207 553 5660 or email us at