Latest News | 21 March 2022

Recruitment boss calls for urgent action on work skills ‘pandemic’

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The head of Sky Recruitment Solutions has called on the Government to urgently redress a skills shortage ‘pandemic’ made worse by the furlough system.

David Torrington believes the current difficulties in recruiting suitable candidates across many industries will get worse unless drastic action is taken now.

Although he recognises that Brexit may have partially caused the current record 1.2 million job vacancies in the UK, David has concerns that the furlough system may have inadvertently created skills shortages, as well as causing some, particularly the younger generation, to become disenchanted with the workplace.

He believes the furlough system, which allowed people to be paid for not working during the Covid-19 pandemic, was an essential lifeline for millions, but has resulted in many people effectively losing their desire to work.

Many younger people have delayed their career ambitions and, at the other end of the age spectrum, more over-50s than normal have opted to leave the job market altogether after emerging from furlough.

The result is what David describes as a “skills pandemic” – a huge skills gap that the UK may struggle to address unless other avenues are explored to help employers fill roles.

He said: “Furlough was a great concession by the Government at the time, but recruiters are now paying a very heavy price.

“Through no fault of its own, the system has created problems, leading to the current shortage of workers, particularly skilled workers.

“Across the board, the furlough system has turned the tables on the job market. Instead of it helping to retain workers with skills and potential, it has created a skills pandemic.

“Flexible working and working from home used to be a privilege, but now it is expected and often demanded.

“If employers refuse to bow to these new demands, people are quite simply choosing not to work at all – or are remaining in roles that they may not be entirely happy with, but which offer more flexibility.

“This is the worst crisis in recruitment I have ever seen, and the Government urgently needs to wake up to the problem and take some meaningful action.”

David has highlighted Derby charity Enthusiasm as a prime example of where the Government should take its inspiration.

Enthusiasm has mentored disadvantaged young people and their families for 30 years, encouraging them to gain the skills to fulfil their true potential in the workplace and community.

Sky Recruitment Solutions is teaming up with the organisation to help more young people, their families and community into work.

April Allman, chief executive of Enthusiasm Trust, said: “We are really pleased that Sky Recruitment is supporting Enthusiasm with its work with disadvantaged young people from some of the hardest to reach communities in Derby.

“The collaboration will improve employment prospects for the local community and experts will hold regular recruitment sessions at Enthusiasm’s Cotton Lane base, as well as providing hands-on support with CV writing, interview techniques and the completion of application forms.

“This service will offer employment opportunities within the locations of Osmaston, Allenton and Sinfin and will help lift some of the barriers that disadvantaged young people face when finding a route into employment.”

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