Last week’s ONS BICS data reveals the struggles that businesses – particularly those in the health and social care sector – face when it comes to recruitment in the current economic environment given the tight labour market. 

Nearly three in 10 (28%) of businesses with over 10 employees said that they had experienced difficulties recruiting employees.

Only a slightly higher proportion (39%) saying that they were not having any challenges.

There was a clear sector split with businesses in the health and social work (49%), accommodation and food services (36%) as well as the education (36%) sectors suffering from the biggest challenges.

David Pye, Director at leading independent consultancy Broadstone, commented:

“Successful recruitment and retention is likely to be a clear underlying differentiator and driver of success and productivity over the coming year. Many businesses are facing serious struggles in getting a fully skilled workforce which is supressing productivity. 

“Businesses need to take a more proactive approach to both recruitment and retention, ensuring that their workers have access to what matters to them and that their employee value proposition is targeted and relevant. Good pay in the current inflationary environment is obviously important, but so are many ancillary benefit offerings such as employee wellbeing propositions and it appears key sectors have failed in many of these areas that could lead them to fail over the medium term.. 

“Reports this week shone a further light on the impact that rising long-term sickness is having on businesses with more than 350,000 leaving the workforce as a result since the start of the pandemic.

 “However, the struggles in the health and social work sector are only likely to add to pressures facing the NHS over the coming year and have the potential create a negative feedback loop. Worsening public health is driving significant absenteeism and economic inactivity so we need a well-staffed health sector to keep our workforces healthy and productive.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.