UK employers struggle with worst labour shortage since the late 90s

UK employers struggle with worst labour shortage since the late 90s

UK employers struggle with worst labour shortage since the late 90s Credit: Pixabay

UK employers struggle with the worst labour shortage since 1997 as the number of overseas workers drops due to Brexit and Covid. The labour market is also being hit as the UK reopens from lockdown.

Employers in Britain are struggling to recruit staff as British businesses reopen after lockdown. Businesses are also seeing recruitment issues as the number of overseas workers has dropped too.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the accountancy firm KPMG have both issued warnings over the potential risk to the UK economy and its recovery. The UK is currently experiencing acute labour shortages the likes of which had not been seen since 1997.

Many areas of the economy are facing this issue and top of the list are areas including transport and logistics, hospitality, manufacturing and construction.  The issues are also found in higher paid sectors such as IT, finance and engineering.

“We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers now more than ever, as the increasing skills gap in the workforce has the potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery,” said the head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, Claire Warnes.

After recent coronavirus restrictions were eased companies are finding that this has led to bottlenecks. There are also less EU workers available due to post-Brexit immigration rules, and ongoing issues with borders being opened and closed due to varying levels of the virus.

Skill shortages existed before the pandemic but this is now becoming even more obvious. “The encouraging increase in job creation across the manufacturing and services sectors is being held back by recruitment difficulties at all skill levels, jeopardising growth and productivity,” said Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC.

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Written by

Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at