The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show unemployment at just 3.8% among those aged 16 and over between February and April 2022, marking a fifty year low. It also says the number of job vacancies are at a record high of 1.3 million, up over 500,000 on pre-pandemic levels.
Louise Doswell, principle and chief executive of Preston College, sponsors of the Employer of the Year category in this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, said the figures are encouraging but point to a need for businesses to invest more in retaining existing staff.
“Employers report that it’s getting harder and harder to find the right number of quality candidates for roles they’re recruiting, partly because unemployment levels are so low.
“They’re also having to compete harder to attract the candidates that are available, and risk their existing employees being poached.
“Given these conditions, the best thing businesses can do right now is to focus more attention on creating a working environment and culture that means existing staff want to stay, while also investing in the personal and professional development of their people.”
According to the Labour Market Outlook for Spring 2022 published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in May, 45% of firms say they have hard-to-fill vacancies.
It says the most popular response to hiring difficulties has been to raise pay (44% of businesses surveyed). But it also notes that 39% of employers reported having focused on upskilling more existing staff as another means of tackling staffing challenges.
Louise said: “This week, we conclude the judging in the Employer of the Year category of the BIBAs. We’ve already had a glimpse of what some of the entrants have been doing to deserve this award, and it will be interesting to see what the remaining hopefuls have been up to.”
Next week, awards entrants in Scale-Up, Medium and Business of the year categories will face the judges.