Why is there such a candidate shortage for jobs?

Posted on 7 Jun 2021
Why is there such a candidate shortage for jobs?

With many employers and certainly all recruitment agencies locally feeling the pinch trying to find staff for both temporary and permanent roles, Helen Stacey – MD of Aspire Jobs explains the issues in the current marketplace.

“The employment market across the UK has proved to be very resilient as we approach the easing of restrictions.  There are now a lot of temporary and permanent jobs out the in the marketplace but with a shrinking candidate pool it is becoming increasingly hard to fill those roles.

This is hugely frustrating for both agencies and employers as it will stifle growth.  There are a few key reasons for this that you need to be aware of:

  • The Jobs market has picked up across most industry types
  • Lack of confidence in the economy causing people to think really hard before applying for new roles
  • Furlough scheme – whilst it’s been amazing it’s really starting to hold back the employment market – if you are employed currently and move jobs, you won’t be entitled to furlough if anything happens
  • Lack of EU Workers – a lot of workers from the EU have returned to their home countries during 2020 and now, due to new regulations, are struggling to come back into the UK
  • Benefits culture – controversial I know but universal credit applications are not being made to apply for roles

Helen continues – “according to the most recent data from The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which is the governing body for the recruitment industry in the UK we see:

  • Demand for workers rose at the fastest pace for 23 years
  • Rapid increases in permanent placements and temp billings
  • Vacancy growth hits highest since January 1998...
  • but supply of workers drops at quickest rate for four years


Helen continues, “the deterioration in staff supply intensified, with overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017, this in turn is pushing up starting salaries”

So, what can you do if you are looking to recruit: -

  • Make sure you fully understand the market you are recruiting in
  • Ensure you are paying market rate
  • Don’t be too specific in your requirements – compromise is the key
  • Candidates are looking for more flexibility with Aspire Jobs seeing a demand for
    • More flexible working
    • A mix of hybrid (WFH and office mix) working now being asked for a standard
    • Some candidates wanting fully remote roles (not always possible granted)
    • Candidate really looking at benefits offered Inc holiday entitlement and pension contributions
    • Culture and reputation
    • Speed of response

I would add that if you aren’t ready to recruit (i.e.. you may be going on holiday) then don’t even advertise now. You need to be able to move quickly and react IMMEDIATELY as candidates are moving so quickly – sometimes within a day of applying for a role.

I have found my job has become more of a coach and am constantly coaxing candidates who may be understandably nervous about moving jobs.  Don’t get me wrong there are people out there and we are making placements but it’s taking longer and is becoming harder.  It’s actually great news for the economy that the jobs market is booming – long may it continue”

“I’m happy to chat to anyone who wants further information on the local employment market and can be contacted on 07974 429217 or email [email protected]