from Nemi Alexis at Stafflex
Business activity continues to rise throughout Q1 of 2022 as further easing of COVID-19 restrictions boosts the UK economy. However, staff availability throughout Yorkshire has been negatively affected by workers self-isolating from omicron variant as well as Europeans returning to their home countries due to Brexit.
The recent developments in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine are extremely alarming and concerning. It is unclear what impact this will have on the jobs market but we are already seeing soaring energy and fuel prices which have both skyrocketed since the invasion – fortunately, the UK is not as reliant on Russian oil and gas as other European countries.
Costs for energy and fuel have already seen significant increases which if businesses cannot absorb, will be passed on to consumers and ultimately drive inflation higher than the current rate which is already at a 30 year high.
Demand and outlook
We have seen a sharp increase in the demand for goods and services in Yorkshire & Humber. An increase in business confidence has been a key factor in supporting intakes of new work.
There is clear optimism from private sector companies that business activity will continue to increase throughout the year. Furthermore, when compared with the other 11 monitored UK regions, only London recorded a greater degree of confidence than Yorkshire & Humber.
It is important to note that this data does not reflect the latest developments regarding the conflict in Ukraine.
The latest data indicates growth in the level of employment across Yorkshire based businesses during the start of 2022 although the rate of increase has slowed when compared with Q4 of 2021.
Low staff availability due to workers having to self-isolate as well as a delay in lead-times on products has played a factor in businesses’ ability to process orders in a timely manner.
The prices charged by companies in Yorkshire for goods and services continues to increase significantly at a record rate as we see companies adopt a more aggressive approach to pricing. Most businesses attributed this to higher supplier and utility costs.
Wages for temporary workers continue to increase as businesses pay out higher wages in order to keep their high-calibre workforce.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that weekly earnings increased by 8.7% in Q4 of 2021 which was the second-highest rise out of the twelve English regions monitored.
Demand for staff has continued to rise sharply in February with job vacancies at near-record rates in Q1 of 2022.
The recruitment sector has seen a trend of declining availability amongst candidates for both permanent and temporary work. High demand coupled with a reluctance to move roles attributed to the decline which coincided with the first wave of COVID-19 in early 2020.
Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) commented: “Candidate availability has now been dropping for a year, which shows the scale of the labour shortage the UK faces. Recruiters are filling record numbers of posts, but demand is still rising.”
Skills in short supply for both permanent and temporary recruitment include accounting/financial, engineering, warehouse, legal, retail, administration as well as sales and customer service.