According to our research, most skills and labour shortages currently facing the UK pre-date the pandemic, although certain sectors – most notably hospitality, health and social care and manufacturing – are facing particularly acute challenges with hard-to-fill vacancies.

The findings, based on a survey of more than 2,000 employers and focus groups with organisations in low-paying sectors and young jobseekers, point to a need for both Government and employers to look at specific short-term interventions and longer-term investments to tackle the issues.

The CIPD calls on Government to:

  • establish a temporary job mobility scheme for young EU nationals to act as a ‘safety valve’ to ease immediate, acute labour shortages
  • reform the Apprenticeship Levy to create a broader, more flexible training levy to boost employer investment in skills 
  • provide £60m to fund a business improvement consultancy service via the Growth Hub network to help more firms invest in new technology and improve their people management and workforce development capability.

For employers, the CIPD recommends:

  • maximising wages where possible and supporting employee financial wellbeing, to overcome low pay as a deterrent for applicants 
  • considering employment under permanent contracts rather than temporary, as this is preferred by many jobseekers 
  • using a wider range of recruitment channels and methods, and in particular, building links with local groups, schools and colleges
  • exploring different flexible working arrangements, and providing training for line managers to support your people
  • ensuring there are opportunities for development and promotion, as this is an important attractor according to jobseekers.

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