Labour Market Update – January 2023
Kevin Hollinrake, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) responded on behalf of the Government. There was a recognition by the government of the challenges facing businesses due to skills and labour shortages. The response was focused on the domestic workforce and upskilling for the future and increasing the number of apprenticeships.
In terms of immigration, there was no evidence of the government changing its position on low skilled worker routes although there was some hope of support for allowing asylum seekers to work whilst their application is being processed. However, this is a Home Office decision not BEIS
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP published the policy paper Helping people secure, stay and succeed in quality, higher paying jobs last month. This is the government’s response to Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith’s independent review on the barriers to progression in low paid jobs and sets out a new, wide-ranging approach including a number of key themes:
People Management has reported that the government is considering a ‘range of factors’ to address economic inactivity including an alleged plan to overhaul sickness and disability benefit legislation alongside considerations to introduce a bigger tax allowance for people over 50.
The latest ONS Labour Market Overview reported:
The latest ONS Business insights and impact on the UK economy highlights that 28% of businesses with 10 or more people were experiencing a shortage of workers, more than half reported that employees were working increased hours as a result and 40% said they were unable to meet demand
Indeed and Glassdoor’s latest hiring and workplace trend 2023 report identified that:
The Institute of Employment Studies has published its latest research into employing young people. Its report Bridging the Gap – making young people a vital part of every workforce found 2 in 5 employers did not hire from the 18-21 age group and 30% of young people aged 18 to 25 are more likely to be looking for work.
Food Industry Labour Supply
Food Manufacture has reported on the Key trends for 2023‘s food and drink industries including that the industry remains at the mercy of a labour crisis.
ALP is quoted as saying “government plans to recruit domestic workers have proved ineffective”. Nick Allen, British Meat Processors Association stated “Food prcessors have seen input costs rise steeply with energy costs rising four-fold and that most plants are running between 10% and 15% short on labour”.
Defra’s Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain is progressing. We have been informed by Defra that they are still in the evidence gathering phase and starting to analyse the evidence that they have gathered so far. They have completed 3 site visits and interviewed more than 40 businesses as well as holding a number of roundtables. The target date to release the report is Spring 2023 and based on that, we can expect the government’s response in summer 2023.