Responding to the latest labour market data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) said, “We expect to see a fall in vacancies as the summer months approach so these statistics are perhaps unsurprising.
“However, I do feel that the data needs to be analysed beyond the percentage falls that have been the focus over recent times.
“While vacancies have seen a decline for the last few months, they remain above one million.
“Just last year, the recruitment sector was battling the significant spike in jobs and coming to terms with the fact that figures had exceeded the one million mark for the first time on record.
“Now this is seemingly the norm, despite the prevailing skills shortages.
“It is crucial that recruiters don’t lose sight of the fact that it is still a tight talent market and skills gaps are growing, regardless of the monthly declines.
“It is vital that the UK strengthens its labour market – and in order to do so, it needs easy access to international workers – particularly the self-employed and contract professionals.
“Current visa restrictions do not allow for, or encourage, independent contractors or the self-employed to take up work here. If we look at the examples of other countries, we are lagging behind when it comes to innovative recruitment strategies.
“We strongly believe that accessible, simple to obtain visas for independent, non-employed contractors need to be readily available.
“While all developed nations are suffering similar issues around skilled labour shortages, other countries – such as Denmark and Germany - are adopting more effective policies to attract the skilled global workforce.
“In the mid to long-term this will help provide them with the expertise all developed nations need to lead on innovation in AI and green technologies.
“Without similar action, the UK will lose out on key talent to other countries that are ahead of the curve.”
Matt Dickens, Sales Director at Astute, added, “Despite the broader dip in vacancy numbers, there is still exceptionally high demand for candidates across the nuclear, power, and renewable sectors Astute specialises in.
“With skills shortages continuing, we are seeing an increased demand from businesses who are looking to retain our services as they struggle to find talent.
“With the talent shortages showing no signs of slowing, I would strongly encourage hiring managers, from all industries, to consider the numerous benefits of a retained recruitment campaign.
“Retained campaigns show you are investing in the hiring process as well as enabling the recruiter to best represent your company and its culture to the market.
“Anything that can help your role stand out during a talent shortage will prove highly beneficial.”