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Recruitment crisis must be next PM’s priority, say Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say the tight labour market is holding back growth – and that it must be the priority of the next Prime Minister.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 per cent and that job vacancies were continuing to rise as firms look to fill roles in order to grow.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Low unemployment has been a success story as we’ve emerged from the Covid-19 crisis but when you speak to businesses, one of their biggest concerns right now is their ability to hire staff.

“It’s holding back growth in the economy and, with so many other issues such as rising energy costs, inflation and problems with the supply chain, it’s an additional headache for firms across the region.

“This issue needs to be at the top of the next Prime Minister’s inbox. We need an innovative approach to funding and engagement to help businesses to overcome the immediate hurdle by making it easier to bring labour in from overseas to allow businesses to work on re-training and, also, attracting more people back into the workplace who have become economically inactive over recent years.”

British Chambers of Commerce Head of People Policy Jane Gratton said: “The labour market remains incredibly tight, in many cases affecting firms’ ability to maintain normal operations. Although these figures show the employment rate has risen it is having no noticeable impact on the overall number of job vacancies.

“But there are several avenues open to businesses and the Government to shift this data in the right direction.

“We need to bring more economically inactive people back into the UK labour market by offering flexible working practices, rapid re-training opportunities and a focus on workplace healthcare and support.

“The Government must also reform the Shortage Occupations List criteria to include more jobs at more skill levels to give firms breathing space to train and upskill their workforce.

“The huge number of vacancies is holding back productivity and growth, and employers are at their wits’ end.”

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Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

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