Staff shortages could continue for two years, warns CBI

07 Sep 2021

Labour supply problems could last for up to two years and will not be solved by the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned.

The CBI said that although a lack of HGV drivers has dominated the headlines, the challenge extends to many other skilled professions.

Marrying skills policies to roles with the highest unfilled vacancies, adding greater flexibility to the Apprenticeship Levy and using the government's own skill-focused immigration levers to alleviate short-term pressures are three things the UK government can do now, the CBI said. 

The CBI has also urged businesses to play their part in regard to long-term productivity reforms by continuing to invest in training, automation and digital transformation.

Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI, said: 'Labour shortages are biting?right across?the economy. While the CBI and other economists still predict growth returning to pre-pandemic levels later this year, furlough ending is not the panacea some people think will magically fill labour supply gaps. These shortages are already affecting business operations and will have a negative impact on the UK's economic recovery.

'Building a more innovative economy – coupled with better training and education – can sustainably improve business performance, wages and living standards. But transformation on this scale requires planning and takes time.'

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