15 days ago by Martin Burnett

The Labour Market

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The current labour markets

Last month it was reported that, for the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies. Job vacancies rose to a record of 1.3 million in February to April, as unemployment continued to drop to 3.7 per cent – the lowest level seen since 1974.

Layoffs and furloughs dominated the news throughout 2020, amid COVID closures and shifting consumer demand. Returning to ‘normal’ after COVID is just not happening.

Older people are continuing to drop out of the labour market, choosing to leave the world of work without intention to return, contributing to tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies. 

Over one in four people aged 50 to 64 are neither in work nor looking for work – up 2% on two years ago and there has been a permanent loss of workers driven by many older workers taking early retirement.

The U.K.’s situation has also been exacerbated by Brexit, with many overseas workers that the country relied on going back home during the pandemic.

The absence of workers in critical industries such as production, agriculture and transportation has led to consumer panic in the U.K and, with the world in general experiencing a shortage of workers, it’s exacerbating supply chain disruptions around the globe, with key industries struggling to regain momentum due to a lack of workers or raw materials.

So, what does all this mean to you as employers? It means you really need to be on the ball in terms of attracting and retaining your employees. The pandemic not only drove new ways of working; it changed the way people view their jobs, careers, and lives.


Things to consider:


Hybrid working is here to stay whether we like it or not – one of the first questions candidates ask us when we speak to them about jobs is what’s the split between working in the office and working at home. Clearly this can only happen with a workforce that is fully trained and capable of doing as good a job in their home office as they would at work. Obviously, if you work in supply chain, manufacturing, or the hospitality sectors for example, it is impossible to work from home and these sectors are massively struggling to attract staff as a result.

Systems / Automation

To enable employees to work from home the systems/tools/CRM systems need to be in place to allow this to be seamless. This may well involve large investments in technology but is imperative.

Staff engagement

Attract and retain talent by engaging employees with work that is core to the company’s identity, requires more strategic thinking and occurs at a faster pace. Creating new opportunities for growth is critical as 86% of workers feel their career has stalled during the pandemic according to a recent survey. Some organisations, ours included, have created agile workgroups, bringing together employees across several functions to focus on key aspects of the business, such as improving customer service. Employees that are part of co-creating solutions are likely to be more engaged and happier, which helps companies keep and attract talent regardless of a hot job market.


I hope you find the above interesting and it’s our role at Cherry to work closely with our customers to offer support and advice around what’s important in terms of your offering and helping you get your chosen candidates over the line. Never assume this is a done deal by the way until the person steps foot in your building on day one. Good candidates have several options to choose from at the minute and will be getting several calls whilst working their notice as well as their current company offering crazy buy-backs to avoid the possibility of having to find a replacement! Keeping in touch with your new hire whilst they’re on notice is imperative. This can include regular phone calls, invites to team socials or perhaps hooking up for tea one night! Employers attempting to buy-back candidates after a resignation is running at an all-time high so make sure you do everything possible as suggested above.


Please reach out to me for advice / chat if you feel I can help in any way.