New data suggests that the skills shortage in the UK is causing significant problems for many organisations.

The figures, from XpertHR, show that whilst the UK recruitment market continues to show strong signs of recovery post-pandemic, finding the right talent is causing difficulties for bosses and HR leaders.

As businesses look to resume pre-pandemic activity, the country has seen a surge in recruitment, with three in five (61 per cent) organisations expecting to recruit more permanent employees in 2021 than 2020.

The biggest skills shortage in terms of seniority level appears to be managers, with more than three quarters (77 per cent) of companies looking to hire in this department, followed by a third (33 per cent) who are looking to recruit directors.

In fact, almost all respondents (96 per cent) are looking for wider staff support, highlighting the way in which the skills shortage is permeating almost every industry.

When asked about applicants, over half (55 per cent) said that they are facing issues with the quality of applicants for roles, and 50 per cent of organisations surveyed stated that they have experienced skills shortages.

As reported by businesses, the sectors that appear to be experiencing the most severe difficulties in filling their skills shortages are engineering (34 per cent), IT specialists (30 per cent), and manual roles (18 per cent).

The pandemic has exacerbated signs of candidate hesitancy to move job, with many feeling that job security outweighs the risk of moving.

Michael Carty, Benchmarking Editor at XpertHR, commented:

After a difficult year and a half, it’s welcoming to see the UK recruitment market bounce back. As the furlough scheme begins to wind down, the world of work continues to rebound robustly from the effects of the pandemic.

Despite this, we need to address the challenges that remain to continue this growth and recovery. Skills shortages, poor quality of applications and high volume of unsuitable candidates remain prominent issues experienced when recruiting employees.


*In order to obtain this data, this survey was conducted by XpertHR in May and June 2021 with respondents from 134 organisations with a combined workforce of 249,613 employees.