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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Recruitment businesses hold the key to overcoming shortages

Labour shortages and workforce planning

Yerin Seo avatar

Written by Yerin Seo Senior Campaigns Advisor

The severity of labour and skill shortages needs no further explanation among our members. But the REC has been asking the question around what the economic impact of these shortages are and looking at solutions to overcome them to create a sustainable labour market. This is how our latest report ‘Overcoming Shortages’ was born.  

Through economic modelling analysis, the report found that the UK economy could potentially lose up to a staggering £39bn a year from 2024. The calculation was based on a hypothetical but not inconceivable 10% spike in demand in the economy, and the labour market restricted by shortages. The report makes various recommendations for both businesses and governments on issues ranging from skills, reform of the apprenticeship levy, and immigration amongst others. There are practical steps for members and your clients aimed at helping you navigate this tight market and boost revenue, staff retention and productivity.  

All this is aimed at making businesses and governments put the “people stuff” first. One of the main recommendations is for businesses to have a five-year workforce strategy, that is reviewed annually by the board. It’s time for leaders to walk the talk about people being their greatest asset. 

Part of this solution is having equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies, which are increasingly important for commercial and ethical reasons. There is plenty of evidence that diversity leads to a more productive workforce. And in a worker shortage situation, it is essential to attract and retain the best talent from all demographic groups available.   

The importance of good working conditions is also crucial. Good employment relations and active listening coupled with benefits that matter such as flexibility will go a long way.    

Lastly, be a champion for investment in people looking at what training you can offer and advising clients on what they could do around training and development in order to attract the best candidates.

For more analysis and details on our recommendations for business and government, you can read the  Overcoming Shortages: How to create a sustainable labour market report here.