The number of applicants per vacancy (APV) declined significantly across three key sectors in the first half of the year as vacancies have surged, according to data from Broadbean.
Across manufacturing and production, vacancies rose by 32%, while the APV was down 46%. Sectors experiencing the largest fall in applicant numbers were logistics & supply chain and retail, with the former seeing vacancies rise 85% and the AVP decreasing by 60%. The latter saw roles increase by 101% and applicant numbers dropped by 55% between quarter one and quarter two 2021.
Retail has been hit hardest by the so-called ‘pingdemic’, with large employers reporting that entire stores are being forced to shut because of staff needing to isolate.
“The fact that we are seeing applicant numbers fall and companies starting to really struggle to recruit is worrying and could hamper the UK’s ability to build back after the pandemic,” said Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology. “And while we expect applicant numbers to pick up once again in September after the usual summer lull, the next few weeks will prove a testing time for the employment market, particular given the huge numbers of people isolating.”
The latest Report on Jobs survey by the REC and KPMG showed that recruitment activity continued to rise sharply across the UK at the start of the third quarter, with permanent and temp billings both rising at near-record rates and starting salaries increasing at the quickest pace on record.
It found that that rising demand for staff as restrictions ended and a further marked drop in candidate supply have accelerated increases in permanent starting salaries, with the rate of salary inflation the sharpest seen in nearly 24 years of data collection. In contrast, temporary/contract staff hourly pay rates rose at the second-quickest rate since the survey began.
Overall, candidate numbers fell at the second-sharpest rate in the survey history, easing only slightly from June’s record, with Brexit cited as a key factor reducing the supply of workers, especially temporary staff.
“While companies want to invest in their business now that restrictions are lifting, demand for new staff still outstrips supply due to low candidate availability,” said Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK. “We know that reskilling and upskilling is needed to help people move between sectors, and there’s no doubt the ‘pingdemic’ has added an extra dimension to the recruitment challenge. Plus, with furlough due to end soon, there may be a downward pressure on pay to come.”
Photo courtesy of Canva.com