Put people first


The British labour market has faced a number of staff shortages over many years, and the REC has been at the forefront of raising the issue throughout that time. Over the years they’ve raised awareness that these personnel shortages have the potential to damage the UK economy and growth. And some of their predictions are coming home to roost.

The REC reports that Covid has helped us to realise seriously an underlying issue that has been with us for years. We’ve all read about the knowledge (and personnel) loss as baby boomers retire, our inefficient skills system and below par business investment and deployment of technology, with all those in mind you can see that the 2020’s was always going to be a challenging decade.

It’s (REC) latest report, they show exactly how much damage could be done. Neil Carberry, Chief Executive, REC said: “If we don’t step up. With a 10% surge in demand for staff across the economy, and the labour market restricted by shortages, we could see a 1.2% fall in expected GDP and productivity by 2027 – costing the economy anywhere between £30 billion and £39 billion every year. This figure is just short of the entire current defence budget, or two whole Elizabeth Lines”.

He makes the point that the report is about finding solutions and not complaining. In it, interviewers turned to businesses across the UK for their views, as well as looking to Canada and Germany for things that could be learned.

Looking after staff comes out top when it comes to driving success. Workforce planning must be moved up the agenda at C-suite level. Ensuring adequate skills and recruiting the right people for the right job, with the long-term in view is essential. It’s about moving away from recruitment as a procurement function.

To create a sustainable labour market and stoke economic growth we need to put the “people stuff” first.