Somerset Chamber

Talk to the team 01823 444924


Tell us your business news

Learn more


Chamber news

Relentlessly tight labour market hampering business growth

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has renewed calls for the Government to review the Shortage Occupation List after the latest labour market statistics showed “a relentlessly tight labour market”.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were over 1.16 million job vacancies between September and November last year, with unemployment at 3.7%, a slight increase on the previous month.

Wages have also grown at the fastest rate in more than 20 years, with regular pay, which excludes bonuses, rising at an annual pace of 6.4% between September and November.

Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the BCC, said: “Today’s figures will come as no surprise to businesses up and down the country who are desperately trying to fill record numbers of vacant roles. 

“With over 1.16 million job vacancies, businesses are still experiencing a relentlessly tight labour market. If firms can’t hire the staff to fulfil their order books, any room for growth is extremely limited.   

“Government is heading in the right direction with its plans to help bring economically inactive workers back into the labour force, especially older workers who left in their droves when lockdown ended.  

“But we need to see more action. There must be carefully tailored careers advice, job seeker support and rapid re-training opportunities to help employers harness the skills and experience of older workers.  

“Businesses also need to play their part, by engaging with local skills and employment opportunities, adopting flexible working policies where possible and helping older workers develop their skills for the changing workforce. 

“Finally, Government must hear our calls to urgently reform the Shortage Occupation List to help businesses fill urgent job vacancies when they cannot recruit locally. The List should include job roles below RQF Level 3 for sectors where there is clear evidence of a national shortage. 

“The UK’s tight labour market is one of the top challenges preventing our businesses and economy from growing. It’s no use simply talking about growth if we are not prepared to take action on it.  

“With an anaemic economy and low productivity, Government must take immediate steps to ease the considerable labour pressures on businesses – we can’t afford to wait any longer.” 

Connect. Influence. Grow.

Join Somerset Chamber of Commerce to give your business a stronger voice both locally, regionally and nationally. Combined with local town chambers, we represent over 2,000 businesses across Somerset with a direct line to policy-makers at all levels.

Discover the benefitsJoin now