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Neil  Carberry avatar

Written by Neil Carberry Chief executive

When I wrote my last blog at the beginning of the year, things were looking up. The pandemic was still with us, but the success of the vaccination programme had significantly reduced disruption. And while it was clear labour shortages would be with us for some time, I was rather looking forward to leaving the unprecedented times behind us.

Well, you know what Burns said about the best laid schemes of mice and men! Inflation has soared to the highest in 30 years and is expected to go even higher. Costs for firms and individuals are rising across the board. And then we add the terrible war in Ukraine, which has affected all of us deeply.

Ukraine Hub

But as we showed with COVID, it’s in times like these that our industry has a critical role to play. I’m immensely proud of recruiters’ response to the Ukraine crisis. Our sector has come together from across the world to support friends, family and colleagues, whether it’s fundraising or directly acting to support and protect those affected in the region. We’ve collected lots of resources on our Ukraine hub to help.

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The P&O Ferries

The P&O Ferries debacle has also shown the importance of the industry in upholding standards. I know many of you shared my shock and dismay at P&O’s actions, especially the way that agency work was presented. We are clear that no agency should ever be involved in such unethical practices, and no REC member was involved. We all have to stand up for doing the right thing when there is so much upheaval and uncertainty around.

Labour Market Tracker

That uncertainty hasn’t yet dampened employer demand. The first release of our new Labour Market Tracker showed the number of job ads increasing for every occupation type and in every local area of the UK at the end of February. We’ll see another update from the tracker later this week, and agencies will continue to make great work happen and enable their clients to grow and evolve.

Report on Jobs

But with our Report on Jobs showing labour supply has now fallen for 12 months in a row, inflation rising and taxes increasing, there are pressures on business from all sides. We were disappointed to see the National Insurance rise confirmed in last week’s Spring Statement, and while there positive noises on skills and the apprenticeship levy, we’ll have to wait to see what materialises there – and in the future plans for NHS and Education staffing, both of which are under severe pressure.

Salary Benchmarking Report

In the meantime, we know you’re facing challenges in your own businesses, and we are working to support you through tough times. Hiring is just as difficult for recruitment companies right now as other businesses. Our brand new salary benchmarking research aims to help you understand the market for recruitment skills so you can attract and retain the best staff.

Hiring is just as difficult for recruitment companies right now as other businesses. Our brand new salary benchmarking research aims to help you understand the market for recruitment skills so you can attract and retain the best staff.

REC2022

We’ll also continue to add to our wide range of business support, where we already have guides to help your company thrive, whatever stage of its life cycle you are in. And we’ll be diving deeper into how we face every aspect of the future together in our annual conference, REC2022, on 30 June. Book your place now for a great day of provocation, client views, workforce, diversity and technology issues!

Through all the tough times ahead, the REC will be there to support you – whether that’s keeping standards high, helping your business grow, or speaking up for you with government and clients. And you have given us a big vote of confidence so far – our membership renewal rate is the highest it has ever been at this stage of the year. We never take your support for granted – so thank you.

Thanks to all of you who have continued to put your faith in us, and all of you who are new joiners as well. And if you have any feedback or anything you’d like to see more of, feel free to drop me a line any time – neil@rec.uk.com.