81% of employers admit to recruitment difficulties

81% of employers admit to recruitment difficulties
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

With the labour market remaining tight for most firms, the last quarter (Q4) of 2023 showed a slight rise in the percentage of companies facing hiring difficulties, from 73% in Q3 to 76% in Q4.

This is according to the latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO), a survey of nearly 5000 UK firms of all sectors and sizes, by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Insights Unit.

The hospitality sector continues to suffer disproportionately from the recruitment difficulties in the economy, the QRO has revealed, with 82% of firms reporting hiring challenges in Q4 (compared with 79% in Q3).

It is closely followed by the transport and logistics sector where 81% of businesses attempting to recruit reported difficulties in finding staff. Meanwhile, 79% of construction firms, 77% of manufacturing companies and 66% of retailers, said they had experienced recruitment issues.

BCC Deputy Director of Public Policy, Jane Gratton, said: “Too many firms are still struggling to hire and retain staff. The situation in the hospitality sector is especially concerning. At the start of an election year, and with a budget just weeks away, it’s vital that politicians start outlining how we can plug these gaps and support more people into work.”


As firms continue to navigate a series of economic pressures, she went on, many are struggling to increase investment in workplace training. For the second quarter in succession, just over a quarter of firms reported an increase in investment plans for staff training (26% compared to 27% in Q3) with 14% reporting a drop (13% in Q3).

As it has repeatedly done on previous occasions, the BCC is arguing that increasing flexibility in the apprenticeship levy would help more people get the workplace training they need.

“Businesses urgently need to see a long-term strategy on skills and training from politicians,” Ms Gratton concluded. “We need to properly resolve the ongoing recruitment crisis and ultimately boost economic growth.”

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