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Recruiters could be key to overcoming critical labour shortages, according to REC

Date Posted: 2 September, 2022

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has published its ‘Overcoming Shortages’ report, in which it outlines the crucial role of recruiters in addressing skills shortages.


Within the report, the REC used research from CBI Economics to highlight the significant economic damage on the horizon if the UK doesn’t face up to the mounting number of vacant job roles. It also lays out its recommendations for tackling the situation, including recruitment partnerships and strategic workforce planning.


‘Overcoming Shortages’ offers a roadmap for both businesses and government policy, to help steer a way back to a fully functioning workforce.


The scale of the labour shortage crisis


Forecasts from CBI Economics are currently pointing to painfully slow economic growth, along with stagnant productivity.


In one modelling analysis, it emerged that a hypothetical 10% increase in demand in the economy would require an additional 1.7 million new jobs. If these roles can’t be filled, it could lead to a UK GDP drop of between £30 billion and £39 billion a year between 2024 and 2027. This is the equivalent of between 1.2% and 1.6% of total GDP, or the size of the entire recruitment sector in 2019.


Recommendations for business and policy


The REC offers two core recommendations to address the UK’s labour shortages. These include the creation of a future workforce strategy, and a requirement for businesses to push workforce planning to the very top of the agenda at leadership level.

Specifically, the report calls for businesses to:


  • Create and annually review a five-year workforce strategy. This should be signed off at board level and focus on developing management skills.
  • Increase investment in training and development for all staff
  • Deliver better working conditions, by engaging with staff on key issues like flexible working, regular pay reviews and employee wellbeing programmes.


At a governmental and national level, the REC is pushing for policies to be put in place for skills, regional investment, immigration and the activation of the labour market.


Recruiting from more diverse talent pools – and how recruiters can help


The report also explains why equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) should remain at the core of hiring strategies. And crucially, how specialist recruiters can be a valuable tool in sourcing talent from more diverse talent pools.


Advising businesses to implement EDI policies across all levels of recruitment and within internal culture, the report explains:


“Most businesses know that achieving an equal, diverse and inclusive workplace is essential for commercial and ethical reasons. And we increasingly have examples in recruitment of candidates refusing job offers for companies that don’t demonstrate their EDI credentials. 


Recruiters can be great partners in delivering this, especially in a tight labour market that will leave you behind if you don’t act to recruit and retain the best talent from all demographic groups available.”


If you’re hiring right now and finding it tough, it pays to have an expert in your corner. Work with our expert recruitment network here at REC – get in touch to find out more