Responding to the latest Labour Market data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed a decline in vacancies in July to September 2022, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), has warned that the recruitment market is still tough despite this fall.
Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo commented:
“While there’s certainly a slowdown in hiring activity – with our own Recruitment Trends data showing that vacancy numbers fell during September – that doesn’t mean that the recruitment struggles the UK has been experiencing have eased. The continued decline noted in unemployment levels alongside vacancy levels which are still up on pre-pandemic numbers, shows that the labour market is still struggling through a shortage of highly skilled individuals.
“The uptick in the number of self-employed workers further supports the idea that there is a shortage of experts across the professional recruitment sector. While this will certainly be aided by the repeal of Off Payroll announced in the Chancellor’s Mini Budget, the full impact of this won’t be felt until Q2 2023 when the legislation itself is repealed.
“Reliance on the contractor market alone won’t be enough to fill the skills void being felt across the UK. Just this week we saw reports of the country facing a ‘brain drain’ of scientists and engineers as Brexit continues to drive highly skilled individuals out of the country over funding concerns.
“The UK’s labour market needs strengthening on a number of levels. Up-skilling the workforce is a long-term solution but it will take time and won’t help resolve the immediate challenges employers are facing. We need a dynamic, flexible workforce that recognises the nuances between self-employed contractors and agency workers on lower wages who require greater legal protection to prevent exploitation. International trade negotiations also need to focus on skills and services as much as products to allow UK firms greater and easier access to globally mobile talent.
“There also needs to be complete co-ordination between education institutes, employers, industry bodies and relevant Government bodies to drive a more sustainable and future-proof skills strategy for the country.”