Half of UK employers struggle to find and keep blue collar workers

Half of UK employers struggle to find and keep blue collar workers


New research from Quinyx, experts in workforce management, reveals that employers across the UK are facing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining manual and elementary service staff at a time when they are also facing the uncertainty of Brexit.

The research also notably highlights that the subsequent skills shortages restrict business growth by 9% and productivity by 10%.

The survey also lists the top reasons these workers quit their jobs: low pay, unsocial hours and a lack of career progression.

Carried out in partnership with Development Economics and Censuswide, the report incorporates economic analysis of ONS data, as well as the employer sentiments of 1,008 senior decision-makers in firms that hire blue collar workers.

49% report that they struggle to recruit staff in this area, while the same percentage report challenges around retention.

These issues are most acute in hospitality, catering, leisure, and retail, in larger businesses where the workforce numbers 250-500, and in London and the East of England.

Employers identify the key barrier as low pay. 33% said it is a major grievance and 32% cite it as why employees quit. A quarter recognised unsocial hours as an issue, with almost the same figure saying it’s the main reason they lose employees.

22% say that a lack of career progression causes workers to look elsewhere for career opportunities. Just under one fifth said that workers quit because of the lack of flexibility.

All are factors that impact negatively on productivity and growth. The 9% average drop in business growth and the 10% squeeze on productivity are also marginally higher in healthcare, hospitality and logistics.

UK employers are also concerned about the effect on access to manual and elementary service workers post-Brexit. Business leaders are predicting they will lose 18% of their workforce as a result, with more than a fifth estimating an even bigger figure of 31%. Businesses in healthcare and logistics are particularly vulnerable.

This impacts on the longer term concerns about talent pipelines post-Brexit, with almost half of employers expecting Brexit to have a negative impact and 15% expecting that impact to be severe.

Mansoor Malik, Managing Director UK & International, comments: “The UK’s manual and elementary service workers are a vital part of the economy. And, with Brexit threatening the inbound flow of skilled workers, it is crucial that employers ensure they’re doing all they can to attract, engage and retain their staff.

‘’With half of employers already struggling to recruit and retain, it’s clear that employers need to address these challenges sooner, rather than later. Whether this means offering greater flexibility or developing more attractive and formalised career paths, ensuring the workforce is skilled and robust is essential to future productivity and economic success.”

Thursday, 14 March 2019

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