Staff Shortages Spread to Almost All Parts of UK Economy, Report Says
08:38 GMT 04.10.2021 (Updated: 15:16 GMT 28.05.2023)
An insufficient number of truck drivers has recently resulted in a fuel crisis in the UK, with petrol and diesel shortages reported across the country over the past week.
Staff shortages in Britain's farming, haulage, and hospitality sectors have spread to almost all parts of the economy, exerting "severe pressure" on medium-sized business in the UK, a new survey has revealed.
According to the survey released by the Brussels-headquartered accountancy and advisory firm BDO on Monday, over a quarter of the 500 companies polled admitted the lack of staff is affecting their ability to operate at normal levels.
The report mentioned firms that are considering cutting production and raising prices, also referring to companies that plan to increase wages and introduce extra perks to lure new employees.
About three-quarters of the firms polled said they have offered employees better pay, while two-thirds have "tried to cultivate the right working culture" to retain people. Bosses said they had increased pay by 11% and 13% on average for current staff and new hires, respectively, according to the survey.
25 September 2021, 06:33 GMT
The report said that higher wages lead to additional expenses in the hospitality sector, which has already been hit by soaring "food, drink, supply, and utility costs". The survey also warned of a "significant" knock-on effect for consumers due to a possible surge in prices over the next six months.
Referring to the survey, BDO partner Ed Dwan told The Guardian that "Brexit, global supply chain issues, and the long tail of COVID -19 has created a perfect storm for UK businesses".
"After navigating the challenges of the pandemic and hoping for some respite, businesses have found themselves facing more major disruption, with those across almost all sectors reporting staff shortages. This is an era of upheaval, and the challenges faced by the UK's mid-tier – the engine of the UK's economy – points to a long road ahead", Dwan argued.
He spoke after petrol stations across Britain witnessed long lines as drivers have been overwhelmed by panic-buying following oil companies announcing that they were restricting deliveries and closing some stations over a dearth of heavy goods vehicle (HGV)
Last week, the government said it would issue at least 5,000 temporary visas to truck drivers to resolve the issue with the supply chain.
The UK's hospitality sector is also suffering from a shortage of staff as at least one in six jobs currently remains vacant, according to the latest business confidence survey conducted by the consultancy CGA and the technology services firm Fourth.
Karl Chessell, one of CGA's directors, claimed that the survey indicated a full-blown recruitment and retention crisis in the hospitality sector, and that "sustained, targeted government support is now urgently needed to tackle the problem".