Between May and July of this year, according to the Office for National Statistics, there were over 953,000 job vacancies waiting to be filled. This is the highest number on record.
The recent pandemic caused a huge shock to the economy of not only this country, but the whole world. In the US, President Biden recently talked of how employers were having trouble filling job vacancies. In this country, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the UK was the hardest hit of all the world's major economies in the early months of the pandemic but Boris Johnson is optimistically clear that although there will be ‘bumps in the road’, he forecasts a steady and perhaps fast economic recovery for the remainder of 2021.
The pandemic was an event that affected every person on the globe and we have never experienced something of this severity in our lifetime. It has caused major economic and personal disruption but it has also promoted a different way of thinking and many of us have assessed our priorities in a way that we wouldn't have done before.
Despite extensive advertising and a successful vaccine roll out programme, job vacancies are just not being filled quick enough, so why is this?
Many people remain quite cautious of mixing with others and entering new environments, regardless of restrictions being lifted and a staggering ( as from 17th August 2021), 88,211,389 vaccinations given in the UK.
With the complications of juggling children being homeschooled for many months at a time and parents being forced to work from home, some people simply realised that both could not be done simultaneously, so ceased work, albeit temporarily, especially if they were able to rely upon another steady wage coming into the household.
Some people have decided to work for themselves from home, making a hobby or interest into a business. There were a record number of new ‘startups’ in the first wave, the figure being a little over 407,000.
Some have opted to take early retirement or rely on savings and many have moved to less expensive and more rural parts of the country.
Some unemployed may believe that being on benefits is better than taking a low paid job yet many employers are now offering monetary incentives and bonuses as they recruit their staff who are willing to look into an individual's potential and thus progress their careers.
No experience can sometimes stop people from applying for roles but employers look mainly for potential and what you can bring to the company rather than on what you have or haven't done in the past. This may have particular relevance for people leaving education or seeking work after caring for their children.
There has been a significant decrease in EU workers as many left the country as the pandemic started and have been unable to return due to strict border controls but this has now been eased.
Some may be hesitant to return to a job that was badly affected by the pandemic, i.e. hospitality which was initially slow to recover. However, as it is an industry that can have great perks, such as generous tipping and meals at work, and as more and more people return to normality, this should no longer pose a problem.
The good news is that the economy is heading in the right direction and is recovering far better than most anticipated.