Are British businesses struggling with recruitment?

10 October 2017
What was claimed

Half of British businesses are struggling to recruit the skilled labour they need.

Our verdict

52% of businesses surveyed by Lloyds Bank in June were struggling to recruit skilled labour, although we don't know the reasons why. We haven't been able to check the methods behind the survey directly.

“Recent research shows that more than half of British businesses are struggling to recruit the skilled labour they need.”

Vince Cable, 24 August 2017

A survey of around 1,500 businesses published by Lloyds Bank in June found that 52% of respondents had difficulties recruiting skilled labour. This is the highest proportion reporting difficulties to the survey in the past decade. When Lloyds conducted the survey in January the same figure was 31%.

In comparison, 26% of businesses reported difficulty in recruiting unskilled labour. Again this had increased from January when it was 14%.

That said, Lloyds also said in their report that “companies were the most positive they have been about their overall business prospects since the EU referendum result.”

Lloyds told us that businesses weren’t asked why they were experiencing difficulties in hiring staff.

We haven’t been able to check the methodology directly, as it isn’t published. 

BDRC Continental, the company carrying out the survey on behalf of Lloyds, told us that the survey group was representative of the different regions, sectors and sizes of British businesses. Respondents didn’t have to bank with Lloyds to take part. Lloyds told us the businesses were weighted to resemble the composition of all businesses in the UK.

There are other surveys which have been done that look at businesses recruitment intentions. One of these, by the British Chambers of Commerce, found that these intentions varied depending on the type of business surveyed.

The BCC found that 21% of around 5,700 businesses surveyed in the service sector expected to increase their workforce over Summer 2017. That’s down from 28% last year.

Meanwhile in the manufacturing sector 29% of 2,000 businesses expected to grow their workforce over the summer, up from 19% last year (based on 2,000 businesses).

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