CBI warns of ‘perfect storm’ of staff shortages

UK businesses face a ‘perfect storm’ of factors causing staff shortages, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned.

The CBI highlighted issues ranging from the paradoxical effects of the furlough scheme to EU workers not returning to the UK amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Hauliers, hospitality, and food and drink are among the worst affected.

The CBI said that, in response, firms must continue to strengthen inclusion and invest in skills and automation.

In addition, the government should immediately update the staff shortages occupations lists for roles including butchers, bricklayers and welders to protect the competitiveness of the UK’s economic recovery. It should also align immigration and education policies to help workers gain skills that are needed to fill any gaps.

Lord Bilimoria, President of the CBI, said: ‘As lockdown restrictions lift, we’re also seeing a surge in the demand for labour – and we know many businesses are already struggling to recruit.

‘We’ve got a perfect storm of factors coalescing. During the pandemic, many workers from overseas left the UK to return home – hitting the UK’s hospitality, logistics and food processing industries particularly hard.’

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