Half of UK firms struggling to recruit

One in 10 businesses also report that the new points-based immigration system is exacerbating labour shortages

Around half of businesses are experiencing a shortage of workers, according to a survey by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The figures, drawn from the monthly Confederation of British Industry survey, found that a fifth of firms are experiencing staff retention issues, with one in 10 reporting that the UK’s points-based immigration system is causing labour shortages. Most firms had also increased their volume of business since April 2021, and with rising wages reflecting the rising average prices of firms, the study shows that the economy has experienced a rebound since summer 2021.

However, the survey found that total output and hours worked had not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. It also found nearly one in five firms cited long-term skills gaps as a factor in their labour shortages, while one in seven said lack of available staff due to sickness or self-isolation had caused the issues. 

CEP’s Josh De Lyon said: “Economic activity has been on the rise… as vaccines have been rolled out. Yet the recovery in the UK has been restricted.”