Skilled worker shortage: the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit


10 September 2021

The impact of COVID-19 saw an increase in UK redundancies with rates increasing faster than during the 2008 and 2009 economic downturn. However, you only need to take a stroll down your local high street to see an increase in 'help wanted' ads for jobs such as care staff, waiters, chefs, lorry drivers, etc.

Large media outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC News are reporting that due to the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit, UK employers are struggling with labour shortages as there is a mismatch between the skillset of those losing jobs and those needed. These shortages could last for the next two years.

This means that even after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 30 September 2021, businesses will likely be battling against each other to attract the candidates with the required skillset for their business.

What can businesses do about the skilled worker shortage?

Since April 2020, employers are required to provide certain information to an employee or worker, on or before their start date.

When businesses are offering roles to new employees, not only do they need to ensure that the terms and conditions being offered on day one are legally compliant, but that the terms themselves are attracting the sought after candidates, as those with the desired skillset will be in a greater bargaining position than ever before.

Amongst other things, the statements are now required to contain information on what paid leave is being offered, details of any other benefits provided and training entitlements provided by employers. It is no longer compliant to fail to mention certain information in new contracts even if no such entitlements are in fact on offer in which case the contract should state this to be the case.

Employers can try to use the fact that they are now required to provide these terms on or before the start date tactically to incentivise the desirable employees and workers by ensuring that the terms and conditions offered are attractive enough to recruit the right candidates.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances further, please get in touch with Rebecca Hughes via [email protected] or 01473 406325. Alternatively, please contact another member of Birketts' Employment Law Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at September 2021.

Author

Rebecca Hughes

Solicitor

+44 (0)1473 406325

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