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Commenting on the latest ONS Labour Market statistics released today, BCC Head of People Policy, Jane Gratton, said:   “An increasingly tight labour market means it’s much harder for employers to fill job vacancies – impacting on their ability to operate normally and retain skills in the business.

“The further rise in the employment rate, together with drop in the unemployment rate are good news but they also reflect how little room for manoeuvre there is for unfilled vacancies on the ground.

“With a new record set for the number of vacancies, and no easy way to fill them for many companies, labour shortages are likely to continue to damage the UK’s growth prospects.

“Despite recruitment difficulties, the damage to firms’ finances from soaring inflation and rising national insurance will limit the extent to which wages can continue rising.

“We need to find ways to bring people back into the UK labour market. Flexible working practices, rapid re-training opportunities and a focus on workplace health can support many economically inactive people to return to the workplace.

“But for some roles, where there is clear evidence of a national shortage of skills and labour, firms need access to people, at all skill levels, from outside the UK. As well as issuing temporary and seasonal visas, the UK government needs to urgently review the Shortage Occupation List.”

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