REC says skills shortage worsening in the UK

The talent gap in the UK is worsening, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation says, based on its newest research survey results.

This month, the REC’s research discovered that more than one out of every four employers on average felt that they were going to find it difficult to recruit freelancers and umbrella company contractors for temporary positions. Almost the same number of employers also said it would be just as difficult to find traditional permanent workers for their vacancies as well. Of course that’s just the average – in some business sectors the percentage of worried employers rose as high as 34 per cent; the technical and engineering industries are highly concerned when it comes to filling the rapidly widening gap.

For the dwindling number of temporary workers still out there, this means that competition for your services is going to go through the roof. For what it’ worth, you’re going to find that anyone looking to hire you for a temporary position is going to be offering a very attractive pay packet. That is, they will if they want to snap you up before one of their rivals does anyway!

Now I hate to rain on this parade, but there’s a dark cloud to this silver lining when it comes to how freelancers and contract workers are benefiting from the skills shortage. Eventually the demand for self-employed interim workers is going to exhaust the supply, and when that happens there’s a real danger that firms, bereft of requisite number of workers to support the growth of their companies, could founder, shutter, collapse and eventually lead to an abrupt end of the economic recovery and even worse possibly spark a new recession.

You don’t need an advanced university degree in economics to know that would be absolutely horrid. Luckily freelancers usually find a way to survive in the harsh economic environment of a recession, but it’s not good in general – and no one wants to see the economy thrive and flourish more than contract workers. I can only hope that the inexorable slide caused by the skills shortage can be halted or even reversed well before things get so bad that the economy in general – something that has finally turned around – ends up crashing and burning!

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