While suggesting that he wanted to overtake Germany – the G7 country with the highest proportion of people in work – during a speech in Ipswich, Cameron did not put a timescale on the pledge, which he described as an inspiration he wanted to achieve.
However, many have doubted he will be able to make a dent in his target within the next five years, if it all. According to The Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility, the full employment threshold is set at five per cent unemployment. The most recent unemployment statistics from the ONS showed the UK has an unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent, meaning that 1.68m people are still unemployed.
This data comes hand-in-hand with research by totaljobs, which found that 71 per cent of UK firms didn’t believe Cameron’s target would be achieved in the next five years, and that is now having repercussions in the labour market.
Nearly half of British businesses anticipate that recruitment will become more difficult. To prove its point, the report cited a large business operating in the retail sector as having said: “As the economy continues to get stronger, finding talent becomes a bit more difficult”. This is a view shared by 31 per cent of the businesses surveyed, which believed that the time it takes to fill roles will increase in the next five years.
The data also revealed that 43 per cent of jobseekers have been more selective about the roles they take. As a result, 23 per cent of businesses have experienced restricted growth due to a shrinking talent pool, with 55 per cent of bosses claiming to currently have a skills shortage in their business.
Read more about the skills gap:
- The ten industries desperate to fill graduate jobs
- Businesses must tackle sticky issues of skills gaps when making hiring decision
- Smashing Britain’s digital skills gap bottleneck
Interestingly, despite employers finding it harder to find new talent, 65 per cent of jobseekers think it has been more difficult to get a job compared to the last time they were looking for a new role. This contradiction demonstrates the continued mismatch between the skills held by candidates and those demanded by employers, as highlighted by a report entitled “UK labour market insights – the entry-level dilemma“.
John Salt, group sales director, totaljobs, said: “The research reinforces the argument that the UK economy will struggle to maintain long-term sustainable growth if the mismatch between the supply of jobs and existing jobseeker talent pool is not addressed. In an increasingly candidate-led market, there are a number of ways businesses can ensure that they are recruiting and employing the right talent.
“It’s never been more important to ensure that businesses retain a clear focus on employer brand positioning across multiple channels to attract the right talent. This should then be complemented by initiatives that speak directly to candidates as individuals, headlining what appeals to them most. This can include company culture, not just skills and experience, the type of working environment and a business’ approach to work-life balance.”
In dire need of talent? Here’s how your company can overcome the skills shortage.
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