London (dpa) – 68. 929 programmer, 29. 996 Cooks and 6364 joiners and carpenters: the list of skilled workers missing in Great Britain is long. In total, more than a million jobs are vacant, as reported by the ONS statistics office. That is more than ever since records began 2001.
While Finance Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the upswing in the labor market, which is back to pre-pandemic levels, the threat is looming British economy is an unexpected problem in the recovery from the Corona crisis. Siren Thiru from the British Chamber of Commerce identified an “acute recruitment crisis”.
Numerous industries are desperately looking for new people. At the top of the list are truck drivers, here at least 100. 000 workers are missing. This also has far-reaching consequences for consumers. For weeks, some goods have been hard to come by, there are gaps on the shelves in supermarkets, there are no mattresses at Ikea, the milk giant Arla had to reduce deliveries.
But tens of thousands of vacancies are also in the care sector – and that in the middle of the pandemic with still around 30. 000 new infections in Great Britain . Millions of people are also waiting for an operation.
Damper on economic recovery
«These recruitment difficulties are likely to dampen economic recovery by limiting the ability of companies to carry out jobs to meet and satisfy customer demand, ”said expert Thiru. The latest data already reflect this: In August the IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index fell to a six-month low, the gross domestic product (GDP) rose by only 0.1 percent in July compared to the previous month.
The Corona- The pandemic has shaken up the global economy, and the UK is by no means the only country with vacancies in logistics. In Germany, for example, tens of thousands of truck drivers are missing.
But experts point out that the problem is worsened in Great Britain – because of Brexit. Because hundreds of thousands migrated during the pandemic. But now only a few of them are returning. This is the first to notice industries like gastronomy, where EU citizens made up the majority of service staff for a long time. Here the number of vacancies increased in August alone 57. 600, as reported by the BBC.
Strict immigration rules
In addition, the conservative government has taken an extremely hard line on immigration since Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fulfilling a promise. Interior Minister Priti Patel announced two years ago that freedom of movement would end “once and for all”. Anyone who wants to come to Great Britain from the EU to work now needs a visa, which costs a lot of money and effort. Hardly anything is possible on your own anyway, potential employers have to act as sponsors.
The goal of Johnson and Patel: British jobs for British people. But many people are not sufficiently trained for the jobs for which no EU citizens are available – or they do not want to do the low-paid jobs. Hardly a week goes by without an industry association asking the government to put additional professions on an exception list for work visas.
One hope now rests on the end of state-supported short-time work. The so-called Furlough program, in which the government paid up to 80 percent of wages, expires at the end of September. Then around a million people will either have to be taken back to their old jobs or look for a new job. But what looks like a simple solution on paper is by far not enough in reality.
In view of the lasting problems of Corona and Brexit, the end of Furlough is not a panacea, said expert Thiru. Economist Yael Selfin from the consulting firm KPMG said the pressure would ease. “But the UK labor market will remain troubled, as vacancies will take time to fill due to the shortage of skilled workers and the lower availability of foreign workers.”