Retailers “fighting a losing battle” to recruit staff as 15% state they cant find skilled workers


UK retailers are “fighting a losing battle to recruit the right people” as new figures reveal that more than one in eight businesses are struggling to find staff.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 15 per cent of retailers say vacancies are now more difficult to fill, pointing to a cocktail of skills shortages, Brexit and low pay.

Between June and August vacancies hit a record 1034,000 with one in four businesses blaming the lack of EU workers post Brexit, rising to one in two in the transport sector.

“The world of work has shifted, and there aren’t enough applicants with the right skills. Meanwhile, Brexit has persuaded many EU workers to leave the UK, and in some industries, people just aren’t willing to do the work for the pay on offer,” Hargreaves Lansdown’s personal finance analyst Sarah Coles said.

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“It makes life nigh-on impossible for recruiters. Part of the problem is that the world of work is changing.

“Retailers, for example, have had to close stores and lay staff off as footfall dropped, then to meet the needs of more online demand they’ve opened new distribution hubs and hired more warehouse staff and drivers. It means booming demand in some areas and shrinking in others, and staff may not have the skills or the inclination to make the move.

“Among the available talent pool, some firms struggle with the fact that the pay isn’t good enough to attract staff. This is a particular problem for professional, scientific and technical roles. It’s also something regularly faced by businesses paying minimum wage for difficult work – such as care.”

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