Job vacancies have reached an all-time high as the economy starts its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In the three months leading up to August, the number of vacancies surpassed one million for the first time since the Office for National Statistics began keeping such records in 2001. With 167,000 vacant positions between June and August, health and social care was the sector with the most vacancies. This industry also had the most unfilled jobs before the pandemic, with 139,000 in the same period in 2019.
There are 134,000 vacancies in the hospitality industry, with many businesses reporting that openings are difficult to fill. Some restaurants are closing on specific days or reducing their hours of operation.
According to industry bodies, one in every five workers has left the sector during the pandemic, with Brexit frequently being blamed for exacerbating the situation. Concerns about long working hours, job security, and pay may explain why many furloughed hospitality workers have not returned to work.
Covid’s disruption of education and college courses has also disrupted the supply of new talent. Science and technology came in third with 98,000 vacancies, followed by retail (83,000) and manufacturing (83,000). (75,000).
Vacancies in the transportation sector are also increasing (47,000), owing to a nationwide shortage of lorry drivers. When the pandemic caused much of the economy to stall, many European drivers went home and have not returned. Due to the current large backlog in HGV driver tests, it has been difficult to recruit new drivers.
Transport companies and supermarkets are offering signing bonuses and higher wages to qualified drivers, as well as apprenticeships for new hires.
According to Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, many industries, including hospitality and retail, are still struggling to readjust following the lockdown and the lifting of restrictions.
He claims that consumer demand has remained high, in part because household incomes have been “protected” by programs such as furlough. However, with more young people than usual studying and not working, fewer overseas workers, and more than one million on furlough, employers are forced to recruit from a smaller labor market, he adds.
Since April, the government has provided nearly 400 free courses worth the equivalent of an A-level qualification in subjects such as accountancy, engineering, and business studies. The national careers service provides a skills assessment, a course search tool, and CV assistance. Vacancies are also listed on the government’s “find a job” website.
Some institutions, such as the Open University, also provide free short courses. The Prince’s Trust offers free personal development sessions to young people aged 18 to 30 who want to work in health and social care. The charity provides mentoring, CV assistance, and can connect job seekers with suitable local employers.
According to Gerwyn Davies of the CIPD, job seekers should be “strategic,” targeting sectors that are experiencing shortages as well as those that are expanding. The shortage occupation list, which is used to grant work visas to people moving to the UK, shows where workers are in short supply. Engineering, web programming, and graphic design are examples of such fields.
Instead of looking for a specific job title, consider your core skills, suggests Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management. For example, if you work in retail customer service, you may be able to transfer your skills to other people-facing roles, such as sales.
Many businesses post job openings on their websites or job boards. You can also join a general or specialized recruitment agency. If you want to work for a specific company, find out whether they hire directly or through a recruiter. And, if you want a specific job, be proactive and reach out to someone who currently holds that position to learn how they got there.
Professional networks can be beneficial as well. These could be LinkedIn or Facebook groups, or industry organizations where jobs and events are advertised and advice is offered. Virtual networking events and job fairs have been organized by some industries and employers.
With thousands of people applying for some positions, Corinne Mills suggests that your network should be your first port of call. Friends, family, and acquaintances will collectively know hundreds of people, and some will be aware of businesses that are hiring.
Many employers value personal recommendations, and you may learn about job openings before they are advertised.
According to Tech recruiter Amy Golding, you should tailor your CV and cover letter for each application, which is time-consuming but more likely to result in a job.
Make a point of emphasizing your skills and listing your previous accomplishments. For example, you may have completed a recent project on time and within budget, or you may have acquired new clients. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and explain why you want to work for this specific employer.
Before you send your materials, proofread them. Request that someone else read your application to help you spot any spelling or grammatical errors that could result in your CV being discarded.