Job prospects up; applicants in short supply

The latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer shows that employment expectations are now at their highest level in two-and-a-half years, although this is increasingly leading to difficulties in finding staff with the right skills and experience.

Data from the June survey suggests that business confidence remains at robust levels, with companies increasingly upbeat about trading prospects. In addition, the net balance of firms anticipating higher employment in the year ahead, climbed three percentage points to +17%, the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

While this rising level of optimism clearly bodes well for future growth prospects, the survey did suggest it is resulting in potential staff shortages. Indeed, almost a fifth of businesses said they were experiencing either significant difficulties in recruiting staff or were unable to find people with the appropriate level of skills and experience.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also recently warned that the country now faces a ‘perfect storm’ of factors causing labour market shortages. These cover a number of issues, ranging from the paradoxical effects of the furlough scheme to EU workers not returning to the UK. The CBI stressed the importance of training in alleviating the situation, but also called on the government to update its shortage occupation lists across a number of roles.