Joe Brewer Consulting Partner

Is there a labour shortage in the UK?
The answer is yes!

  • According to a recent study, the majority of organisations in the UK (91%) struggled to find workers with the right skillset over the past 12 months.
  • In July 2019 the UK unemployment rate is estimated at 3.8% - it has not been lower since December 1974!
  • This has resulted in candidate availability being at an all-time low and competition for quality labour is the strongest it’s ever been.
  • To exaggerate the problem, only 57,000 EU nationals came to the UK looking for work in 2018, down from 165,000 at the peak in 2016.  With Brexit uncertainties the number will likely be considerably lower again in 2019 and some EU nationals are returning to their home country whilst UK is still formally in the EU.
  • Employers must therefore implement innovative resourcing methods and provide an attractive package and flexible working environment to attract quality people.


Three suggested actions as follows:

Plan ahead – have a “People Plan” formulated for next year and start recruiting in good time.   Remember to keep your total overheads to the recommended 20% of your sales target and to aim for “Factor 3” (GP to labour costs ratio)"Grow your own People” – Where possible train and upskill and elevate your existing staff to fill the skilled positionsAutomate – Consider zoning some time and appointing an internal “efficiencies manager” or external lean consultant to look at ways of automating and streamlining your current procedures.  As an example, an overall time saving of 10% in a business employing 20 people should result in the equivalent of 2 “spare employees” to utilise!