Why is it so hard to fill job vacancies these days?

As much as we may hate to admit it, the pandemic is still in full force, affecting our everyday life with no clear finishing point. We’re all aware of the economic effects (and the loss of some of our favourite high street brands, including heavyweights Topshop and Debenhams), but what of the personal ones? Many of us have reassessed our priorities and how we want to live our lives beyond the 9-5, looking for opportunities that work around our lifestyles, considering more than just a salary for remuneration.

However, despite reports of ‘The Great Resignation’, job vacancies are still not being filled quick enough, even in highly competitive industries like fashion. In a complete 180 from what it once was (and more opportunity than ever), why are these roles not being taken up?

  • The office vs working from home debate. With cases once again on the rise, people still remain cautious of mixing with their colleagues, public transport and entering busy spaces. As well as this, people have set up new routines when working from home, often looking for a more flexible alternative, easing pressures (and saving money with) childcare, avoiding the often long, tiring commute and actually improving productivity.
  • People changing industries. The start of the pandemic, and closure of shops and hospitality had a catastrophic effect on the UK, with one in four working people on furlough at some point during the pandemic. With the scheme only recently ending, there has been much uncertainty over the future of peoples jobs, with approximately 8% of furloughed workers no longer being employed. As the industries steady out, and have an increase of demand, many will either have sought out a new job, or decided to move to a role they see as ‘safer’.
  • The battle for entry level jobs. There’s no doubt that recent students and graduates have had it tough, with their final months of studies spent in lockdown, stepping into a market with limited jobs. This has left cohorts of students still in search of their dream opportunity, with competition hotter than ever for rare ‘entry level’ roles. With so many applicants, employers have their pick of the bunch, often choosing the more experienced candidates, meaning entry level roles may not go to the entry level candidate.
  • Good candidates are in more demand than ever. On the flip side, the best candidates are often fielding multiple offers, especially for more niche roles. With new roles being added hourly to sites like Indeed and LinkedIn, many are not even having to apply for roles, instead being approached by internal and external recruiters. From this, they could have two or three offers on the go, meaning they can tailor the salary and benefits to their needs. For the first time ever, the ball is in the candidates court, meaning they can make any opportunity the perfect one for them.
  • More self-employed/freelance people. Can’t find a role which works for you? Create one yourself! Be it a lockdown side hustle which has turned into a full time position, or a decision to set up a new company, there’s been a record number of new businesses set up recently, with the creation of new jobs meaning old ones can’t be filled. This has particularly been the case with people who have moved out of the city to more rural spaces, avoidant of the return to a working life in the city.
  • Brexit. Of course, we couldn’t leave out the effects of the UK leaving the European Union. During the pandemic, many Europeans have moved back to their homes, not wishing to come back due to the stricter border controls and rights for immigrants. This has meant a great loss of talent across all levels in the workforce, and an even smaller pool of candidates to consider.