The UK’s ‘pingdemic’ has exacerbated staff shortages, with over 72,000 UK job ads marked as ‘urgent’.

New research from Adzuna has found that between 19th-25th July, there were 1,116,454 advertised job vacancies, making it the 11th consecutive week of over 1 million open jobs.

This comes as a record number of users of the NHS COVID-19 were sent alerts in the week up to 21st July, with nearly 600,000 people identified as coming into close contact with someone who had tested positive, according to NHS figures.

The pingdemic has led to many retailers having to change plans in order to have enough staff to operate, with supermarket Iceland announcing an initiative to recruit an extra 2,000 staff to cover absences, and M&S warning of potentially needing to reduce opening hours.

Alongside this, the government continues to update advice about the list of sectors exempt from the need to isolate after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS COVID-19 app, which currently includes emergency service workers, border control staff, and food production workers.

However, in most other sectors, the guidance remains to isolate if alerted by the app until the 16th August.

As businesses scramble to recruit staff, more employers are advertising perks and bonuses to fill shortages, with a total of 4,852 advertised vacancies currently offering a ‘welcome bonus’ across the UK.

Both Tesco and Asda have announced £1000 signing bonuses for HGV drivers.

This rises dramatically in the Healthcare & Nursing sector, with Elysium Healthcare offering a welcome bonus of £5000, and Care provider HC One is offering registered night nurses a signing bonus of £10,000.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, commented:

The pingdemic has hit just as businesses start to get to grips with filling open roles.

The struggle to hire is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, with hundreds of thousands of workers still on furlough, hesitation among others to go back to work, fewer overseas workers available to fill positions, and a lack of skilled staff in some sectors.

The pingdemic has compounded these issues, as many jobseekers are forced to self-isolate over attending interviews or starting work.


*Data was taken during the week of 26th July from Adzuna’s index of over 1.1 million live job ads.