Over the last few months, UK media have been full of headlines about the labour crisis in the country. With workforce shortage, rising unemployment, and supply chains coming under strain, the situation looks gloomy.
The lack of lorry drivers, butchers, warehouse operators, welders, and seasonal workers has made businesses cut down on their capacities, slowing down the UK's economic recovery. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and Brexit, labour influx from abroad has decreased dramatically. The Brits themselves should have had to fill this gap, but this is taking more time than the government and businesses expected.
How are UK companies dealing with the problem? Experts from Jooble, one of the biggest job boards worldwide, have analyzed the behaviour of employers and more than 3,2 million job seekers who have visited the site over the past 4 months.
Here are the takeaways of our research:
- Although job seekers in summer-early autumn were traditionally less eager to look for new career opportunities (the number of job seekers fell by almost 53% from early June to early August), the number of vacancies kept increasing. July turned out to be especially prolific, with vacancies growing by almost 28%. Following a slight decline in late August-September employers doubled down on looking for new candidates. Therefore, the number of listed vacancies skyrocketed again, this time by almost 44%. Notably, we are talking about sponsored vacancies, i.e. those promoted by employers so that they could remain high in the search results. Companies are ready to allocate budgets to attract a larger pool of candidates and find the most relevant ones. This shows that British employers are actively interested in finding workers.
- However, the CPC rate (Cost Per Click – the amount of money an employer pays when a user clicks on listed job ads) only slightly changed over the summer. Vladyslav Sizov from Jooble believes that this figure shows the way UK employers are trying to deal with the labour crunch.
- “CPC is a kind of indicator of how ready the company is to fight for each applicant. After all, the more you pay for a click on a vacancy, the higher you will rank in the search results, hence increasing the chances of attracting a wider pool of candidates and finding the most relevant one. It is no secret that the UK market is currently experiencing a severe labour shortage, especially when it comes to blue-collar workforce. Due to Brexit and Covid-19 restrictions, people from abroad who used to fill the labour gap never came to the UK, and Brits themselves are not so enthusiastic to replace them. Businesses understand that no matter how much more they pay for a vacancy, this won’t help find a better candidate faster. Therefore, companies resort to other tactics. They aren’t going to raise the CPC dramatically; instead of betting on one vacancy and paying higher for it, businesses prefer to increase their general visibility by listing more jobs. Thus, employers spread the word about themselves on different platforms and reach out to larger audiences. Since the pandemic and the economic situation are not even close to reaching equilibrium, employers also cut back on their budgets and try not to overspend.
- “Among the blue-collar vacancies, job seekers prefer to choose delivery drivers, hospital porters, fruit picking workers, hospital cleaning staff, train drivers, and welders.
- “However, over the past two months, searches for white-collar jobs have also increased. For instance, searches for software developers and similar IT positions have grown by 43%; and for English-speaking teachers, by 31%. The number of white-collar vacancies listed by employers has also increased, although we believe it is related to the end of the holiday season for HR specialists and recruiters”.
- According to Jooble data, the most active job seekers reside in Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh, Nottingham, and Newcastle upon Tyne.
- Despite Covid-19 restrictions and Brexit, people from the EU and beyond continue to seek jobs in the UK. However, compared to the summer of 2020, the list of countries has somewhat changed. Last year, most of the search queries came from the countries severely affected by Covid-19 (i.e., Spain and Italy). With the lockdown stabilized and the peak tourist season starting, their interest waned. Traditionally, job seekers from India, Canada, the United States, South Africa, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ireland remain the most active ones.