Table of Contents
Due to lockdowns and strict travel restrictions globally, many businesses were impacted. Consequently, many workers were laid off. But as the restrictions are coming to an end and companies are reopening worldwide, some countries are facing a shortage of working people.
This is an ideal situation for job seekers. To make the best of a demand surplus labor market, you should prepare your application documents efficiently to get your dream job. In this article, we will discuss a bit more about the labor shortage and how you can align your job search strategy for the UK job market.
Why is there a labor shortage?
The number of vacancies at the beginning of the pandemic, April 2020, was down by 54% compared to their pre-pandemic average for April. Vacancies fell by 20% for every occupation during that time. However, according to the Office of National Statistics, vacancies have increased by 65.5% since Q2 2020, reaching a record high of 1.3 million in Q4 2021. Office of National Statistics released the numbers in a recent article:
- More than half of the businesses that reported labor shortages said they could not meet their demands.
- There was a fall of 466,000 (1.4%) in national employment in the year ending Sept 2021, which was rising by 0.9% on average in four years prior.
- The fall in employment was driven mainly by the young population. The number of workers between the ages of 16-24 years fell by 201,000.
- Nearly twice the number of workers aged 55 years or above during Q2 2021 retired, as compared to Q2 2020. There was an increase in the number of people opting for early retirement.
In the UK, industries are experiencing the ripples of multiple issues like the aging population, the pandemic, and Brexit. One of the apparent reasons behind the official numbers is that people are not returning to work, and there are two categories of those workers– aged workers and foreign workers. Older workers aged 50 years and above are one of the biggest causes of this massive drop. Experts suggest that there hasn’t been much work or support towards encouraging this group to rejoin the workforce.
The aging population constitutes the majority of the labor market in the UK. The pandemic changed the work norms for almost all occupations. The older population was not prepared for the rapid adoption of digital technologies at work. Hence, many opted for early retirement. According to the International Longevity Centre-UK, the aging population will cause a labor shortage of 2.6 million workers by 2030.
Another cause of the labor shortage is the actual shortage of foreign workers. Many people, especially EU nationals, returned to their home countries due to the uncertainty created due to Brexit and the pandemic. Both hit the UK in a matter of a few months, leaving many workers struggling to understand their status amid a public health emergency. The following section will look into sectors with the highest vacancies.
Which sectors are the most affected?
Manufacturing has 268,803 fewer people employed than Q1 2020, which is a decrease of 9%. There are 85000+ open vacancies in manufacturing on LinkedIn in the UK. If you are looking to begin your career in manufacturing or change jobs, now is a great time to get started on your job search. We recommend developing or improving the following skills to reach your target job:
- Lean manufacturing
- Good manufacturing
- Fabrication technology
- Quality management system
- Troubleshooting equipment
- Analyzing data
- Designing and assembling new products
- Repairing systems
Employment in the hospitality sector in the UK, often referred to as accommodation and food services has decreased by 212,233 or by 11.6%, compared to that in Q1 2020. There are 23000+ open vacancies in hospitality on LinkedIn in the UK. Develop or improve on the following soft skills to enhance your chances of breaking into the industry:
- Attention to detail
- Consistency & reliability
3. Wholesale & Retail
Employment in the wholesale & retail sector in the UK has reduced by 208,690 people, which is a decrease of 5.23% compared to that in Q1 2020. There are 98,000+ retail vacancies open on LinkedIn in the UK. If you are looking for jobs in the industry, we recommend working on the following skills to improve your chances:
- Customer service
- Time management
- Trustworthiness & responsibility
- Commercial awareness
- Working under pressure
- Cultural awareness
- Communications skills
The health and social work sector currently has 206,000 fewer workers. Across England, nearly 6% of the positions of NHS doctors and over 10% of posts of nursing staff are empty. The NHS staff is demoralized due to low pay, constant pressure, and heavy workload, compounded by the pandemic, which has led many workers to quit. If you are looking to break into the health and social sector in the UK, you have to go through the NHS’s required qualifications for the role you are interested in. But we recommend working on the following skills that they look for irrespective of the role:
- Organizational skills
- Time management
- People skills
- Customer service skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work well under pressure
Employment in the construction sector in the UK fell by 148,743 people, a decrease of 6.4% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2022. There are 61,000+ construction jobs listed on LinkedIn in the UK. Whether you are looking to break into the industry or just changing jobs, we recommend working on the following skills to improve your chances:
- Safety procedures and qualifications
- Growth mindset
- Data Literacy & analysis
- Technology skills
- Time management
- Project management skills
The numbers show a severe shortfall in the working population in the UK. The demand for workers has increased, whereas the supply for workers has been limited. This has resulted in tough competition for staff in a demand surplus labor market. Employers are working hard to keep the staff happy and are now more receptive to their workers’ demands. And sure enough, workers are taking advantage of the situation. The employees are now asking for flexible working arrangements, a 4-day work week, better maternity benefits, and more. If you are in the labor market looking for a job, the following are some tips to get you hired during this labor shortage:
- Demonstrate your experience, capabilities, and expertise in your applications while applying for positions that align with your goals.
- Add your hard and soft skills, especially when changing industries.
- Search aggressively. While the number of jobs is high, the competition is fierce.
- Update your LinkedIn profile, resume, and cover letters. Create best-practice career documents using industry-specific keywords.
- Network online and in person.
- Strengthen your negotiation skills. Learn how to communicate effectively, and negotiate the terms of your employment.
A demand surplus labor market is a dream for job seekers. Early retirements on the rise and the return of foreign workers to their home countries have created a bit of an oasis for job seekers in a highly competitive market. Though the talent shortage is making the lives of job seekers a bit easier, this may not last for very long. The labor market in the UK has always been highly competitive with highly talented candidates flooding in from the EU and the rest of the world. We recommend you do thorough research of the industry you are targeting and follow the tips we have mentioned. If you still need any help, reach out to us.