Warwickshire businesses still facing recruitment issues despite rise in unemployment rate - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire businesses still facing recruitment issues despite rise in unemployment rate

BUSINESS leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say firms are still facing recruitment issues despite a slight rise in the unemployment rate.

The latest figures show that it jumped to 4.2 per cent from four per cent and that annual wage growth hit 7.8 per cent.

Corin Crane, chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said companies across the region are unable to grow as quickly as they would like because of the tight labour market.

He said: “The rise in unemployment is a sign that the increase in interest rates is starting to have an affect on some businesses but, in the main, firms still can’t access the people and skills they need to grow.

“It is one of many challenges that companies across the region have had to face up to over recent years and there is no doubt that it has stifled growth.

“Here in Coventry and Warwickshire and the wider region, we are looking at medium and long-term solutions through the Local Skills Improvement Plan but businesses also need help in the short-term in order to be able to bring in the right staff to support their growth.”

Jane Gratton, deputy director of public policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, continued: “Today’s figures showing pay growing at a record annual pace highlight the unrelenting workforce pressures businesses are facing. In a tight labour market, employers are struggling to contain wage inflation as the expectations of their staff and job candidates continue to rise.

“BCC research published earlier this month, shows only a slight fall in the number of firms facing recruitment difficulties. Businesses tell us that access to skilled workforce remains a major concern.

“In the current challenging economic climate, boosting productivity is essential, and investment in skills is crucial to making that happen. We need the government to create the right conditions. For example, by reducing upfront business costs, enabling a more flexible apprenticeship levy and ensuring more access to rapid retraining courses.

“Firms who cannot access urgent skills locally are finding themselves locked out of the immigration system because of escalating costs and disproportionate criteria. We need urgent reform of the Shortage Occupation List to include more roles at more skill levels, when there is evidence of a national shortage.”

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