Job vacancies are at a record high of 1.2 million, yet many employers are struggling to fill roles needed within businesses due to a shortage of skilled workers. Unemployment seems to be falling yet employment levels remain a lot lower than before the Covid19 pandemic began.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of people classified as ‘economically inactive’. Economically inactive individuals are people that are not looking for jobs and are not available to work. According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), it is believed that there are approximately 400,000 more people in that category in comparison to before the virus hit.
Reasons for this could include people that lost their jobs during the pandemic and were unable to find anything else or individuals that decided to retire early. Another contributing factor to this is the increase in students who decided to remain in education due to the uncertainty of the job market during the peak of the pandemic. However, it is thought to be that the largest issue contributing to the levels of economically inactive individuals is due to people suffering from the long-term illness because of covid19, known as long-covid.
On top of this, due to Covid19 and Brexit, many EU nationals who previously worked in the UK have returned to their countries of origin. According to the Institute of Employment Studies, it is estimated that the lack of migrant workers is responsible for one-third of the shortfall in the labour market, with the rise in economic inactivity accounting for the remaining two-thirds.
The solution to this is to persuade the economically inactive to return to the job market. But how can this be done?
This is likely to require efforts to rebuild the confidence of people who have dropped out of the job market during the pandemic, as well as offering flexibility within working practises for people who may be unable to return to full-time office working for various reasons in order to help them back into work.