A recent survey by the British Chamber of Commerce, polled 5,600 businesses and found that the percentage of services firms attempting to recruit fell from 60% to 47%, its lowest level since Q1 1993. Of the percentage of firms looking to recruit, 72% reported difficulties, an all-time high for the survey.
The slowdown in exports in the manufacturing sector, and many services firms seemingly giving up trying to recruit new employees, should be cause for concern, the BCC warned.
“The sharp deterioration of the share of firms attempting to recruit is a concern and reflects both persistent hiring difficulties and heightened economic uncertainty – which if sustained could materially weaken jobs growth,” Suren Thiru, BCC Head of Economics, said.
In the manufacturing sector, the percentage of firms attempting to recruit fell from 77% to 67%, Of these, 75% reported recruitment difficulties.
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, commented, “While fewer companies are trying to recruit, those that are hiring they are finding it increasing challenging to fill vacancies. Many firms are deeply invested in developing homegrown skills and talent within their own communities, however this alone is not enough to fill the skills gaps, at all levels, that businesses face right now, and which are set to get worse post-March 2019.”
“The results from BCC’s latest survey support our call for government to drop arbitrary migration caps and targets, and work with business to develop an immigration policy that supports a growing economy,” Marshall said. “We should not be slamming the door on any of the skills we need for our companies to succeed.”
The BCC urged the government to use this month’s Budget to deliver ‘bold action’ to improve investment and confidence.