According to research from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), UK companies are looking to hire more but are struggling to do so. The reasons for this were down to being unable to afford or find the right staff.
The BCC surveyed 7,300 businesses in the manufacturing and services sectors. The amount of companies looking to hire had grown up to 9% in the last quarter.
The survey revealed that both sectors surveyed had experienced “solid growth” in the first three months of the year with exports up from the previous quarter.
The BCC said that “confidence in turnover and profitability is improving”.
Drive for jobs in manufacturing
86% of manufacturing firms wanted to recruit, a rise from 77% last quarter. In comparison, 59% of service companies wanted to hire more, up from 53% in the last quarter.
74% of manufacturing companies and 58% of services firms said that they were finding it difficult to find staff.
Head of economics at the BCC, Suren Thiru said: “The main issue is finding enough people with the right skills, and of course the workforce is aging. A lot firms are also finding their costs rising and this is deterring business investment, including investing in training their staff.”
He said that issues such as the immigration skills charge and the new National Living Wage were contributing to businesses’ difficulties which has meant they’re more hesitant to invest in new staff.
“The UK economy has shown sustained momentum since the EU referendum and it’s encouraging to see continued investment and growth in important sectors like manufacturing and services,” said a government spokesperson.
“We know that businesses need a highly-skilled workforce to attract the right people for the right jobs and we are helping to deliver this through initiatives like our modern Industrial Strategy, our £500m annual investment in technical education and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.”
Manufacturing is thought to be one industry at most at risk of automation and job losses. However, this research appears to contradict that assumption for the time being as they’re in fact in need of new recruits.
While recruiting has been a difficulty for many businesses, confidence is on the rise. The Federation of Small Businesses conducted a survey and found that business confidence had increased to the highest it’s been in over a year. It has gone up to 20.0 in the first few months of this year. This is the highest figure ever since the fourth quarter of 2015.
This is despite the increased costs of doing business which has put things like recruitment on the back burner.
They believe that this rise in business confidence is down to a boost in international trade, with 15.6% of small companies saying they’ve seen a rise in exports over the past quarter.
Have you found it difficult to recruit new workers? What’s the main barrier for you? Let us know your thoughts!