From education to employment

29% of UK businesses expect skills shortages to impact their success in Q4 2021

The latest Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index, a quarterly survey of more than 1,000 business and HR leaders, gives an up-to-date view of recruitment and employment trends in the UK. The latest edition provides a look back at the third quarter of 2021 (from July-September) and offers insights into what the labour market could look like over the coming months:

Looking ahead to recruitment in Q4

  • As we approach Christmas, the latest Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index reveals that almost a third (29%) of businesses expect to be impacted by skills shortages in Q4.
  • This comes in light of record job vacancies, as 1 in 3 businesses (32%) expect to increase the number of roles they are recruiting for in the final months of 2021.
  • When thinking about their biggest challenges going into the forthcoming quarter, nearly a third (29%) of businesses expect to be impacted by skills shortages, retaining staff (28%), maintaining flexible working (20%), and an inability to meet customer demand (19%).
  • With shortages prompting many industries to increase wages, 18% of businesses are concerned about not being able to offer competitive salaries in Q4 2021.
  • However, despite the anticipated challenges, overwhelmingly, 58%[1] of businesses are confident in their ability to hire in the months ahead, with IT & telecoms and media, marketing, advertising/PR and sales among the industry’s most commonly looking to increase recruitment in Q4.

The last three months (Jul-Sept):

  • After lockdown restrictions were fully lifted hiring continued to gather pace across the board in Q3, with 43% of businesses in the UK increasing recruitment over the quarter (vs. 26% in Q1, 41% in Q2) 
  • As the economy continues to rebound, the industries that were most likely to increase recruitment were medical & health (50%); media, marketing, advertising/PR & sales (50%), and IT & telecoms (49%).
  • Despite furlough ending in September, the data shows how the number of businesses making redundancies dropped in Q3 with just 12% of businesses letting go of staff (down from 17% in Q1), while 26% restructured teams.
  • Totaljobs data offers further insight into the record number of jobs currently being advertised in the UK, with Catering seeing a 570% rise in vacancies year on year (when comparing w/c 04.10.21 and w/c 06.10.20), followed by HR (352%), administration (214%) and customer service (161%).

Jon Wilson, Totaljobs CEO commented:

“With candidate activity not yet meeting the record levels of vacancies in the UK, employers face heavy competition for talent. The challenges businesses anticipate in the final months of this year are very much interconnected, with skills shortages in some industries making it harder to meet customer demand, and open roles leading to existing staff picking up more work. This means that while employers are increasing recruitment, they’re also focused on retention, re-engaging and supporting existing staff to ensure the people they need are sticking around.

“Despite some hurdles ahead, employers continue to feel confident about their position in the labour market. Meanwhile, people are increasingly searching for work-life balance, flexibility or simply for a role they can get more satisfaction out of, and they’re confident in moving jobs – or even moving industries – to get it. To take advantage of this, tailored messaging that makes it clear what your business truly offers its people will help to connect with relevant candidates.”

[1] 58% of HR decision makers reported at least a score of 6 when asked to rank their confidence on a scale of 0-10, with zero being not at all confident and 10 being entirely confident.

Related Articles