Many UK workers lack employment options despite labor shortage
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Many UK workers have even fewer employment options available to them than before the coronavirus pandemic, despite severe labor shortages seen in a handful of relatively low-paying fields, have shown research.
Official data shows more than a million vacancies across the economy, with industry groups requesting temporary visas to hire workers overseas and the CBI’s employer lobby reporting that three-quarters of companies saw access to qualified personnel as a threat to the UK’s competitiveness.
But in a report released Tuesday, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that the UK remains far from being a “job seekers’ paradise”.
The increase in the number of vacancies is due to low-paying occupations, where new job openings had risen by about 20% above pre-pandemic levels in June of this year, the group found. reflection.
More than half of this growth in low-paid work is due to the boom in transport and storage jobs, fueled by the shift to e-commerce. Openings for waiters and bar staff, cleaners and caregivers made up most of the rest.
Higher-paying service jobs have been slower to recover, the IFS said, especially those often occupied by women and graduates – with the market for legal, business and health professionals proving to be relatively slow. Vacancies in middle and higher paying occupations had just returned to pre-pandemic levels at the end of June.
Xiaowei Xu, economist at IFS and author of the report, said that while labor shortages in some areas are real, “we should not be misled into thinking that the power of workers is back “.
For people in many fields of activity, employment opportunities were still much more limited than before the pandemic and competition for available jobs was fiercer, she added.
The IFS constructed a new measure of the opportunities open to workers, weighted by the range of roles that people in a given occupation would typically consider when they changed jobs.
He found that job opportunities for nurses and midwives, for example, remained more limited than before the crisis – even though job opportunities in their field were relatively stable – because in the past, a third of those who changed jobs moved to industries such as retail or public administration.
Using this measure, he found that 8 million people – a quarter of the working population – would still find fewer open jobs in occupations related to their field of work than before the pandemic.
“Because the new economy does not yet look much like a restored version of the old one, the types of jobs advertised are different from the mix of jobs available before the pandemic,” the report said. “This means that … many workers will not recognize the relatively buoyant overall picture.
Since many people have been forced to take careers on hold over the past 18 months or take jobs that did not suit them as a stopgap, the competition for many positions would also be fiercer, the IFS.
While drivers or waiters might be able to quote their price, teachers and healthcare professionals looking for new jobs would face particularly high risks. Competition is said to be significantly higher than before the pandemic for nearly two-thirds of unemployed job seekers, the think tank found.