Responding to the latest labour market data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) said, “The decline noted in vacancy numbers isn’t a surprise given the current economic climate.
“However, the fact that the final dataset to be unveiled before tomorrow’s budget shows that unfilled vacancies remain over one million shows the critical state of the labour market across the UK.
“When we also consider the changes in payrolled employment, we can see that the shortage of workers is only growing.
“While the number of vacancies is continuing to fall, estimates for payrolled employees are on an upward trajectory that started in February 2021 and aren’t showing signs of slowing.
“With widespread reports of difficulties recruiting the highly skilled professionals needed to support the economy over the course of the last two years, this uptick in the number of people on payrolls while vacancies remain significantly high is a concern.
“When we also look at the sector activity, we can see that the demand for highly skilled and highly trained professionals is continuing to grow, with vacancies across those sectors being hit by strikes also reporting increases in vacancies.
“The two industries that reported the highest growth in jobs were human health & social work and professional, scientific and technical activities.
“With skills in these sectors taking time to develop, real action is needed to create a future fit labour market.
“With the Chancellor’s upcoming budget expected to focus on the skills agenda, we hope that this includes solutions to not only develop skills on a longer-term basis through a revamp of apprenticeships and training options, but also provide short-term options to stabilise the current labour market.
“This should, in our view, include actions to better attract and support the highly skilled self-employed segment of the workforce on a domestic and global level.”
Gemma Burman, Senior Manager in Procurement Heads‘ Interim practice, added, “Despite wider trends, the procurement recruitment market has remained steady, and, in fact, the interim side has been incredibly busy.”
With a network of more than 900 interim professionals, Procurement Heads’ interim team has seen sustained demand for immediately available and experienced individuals.
Gemma added, “In addition to major projects and programmes, we’ve seen a big uplift in the number of interim roles as a result of the need for gap management in a challenging permanent labour market.”