Skills shortages  impacting three-quarters of recruiters’ hiring efforts.

Skills gap revealed by survey.

Figures from CV-Library have found 72.1 per cent of hiring professionals believe that ongoing skills shortages are impacting their recruitment efforts. This figure rises to 94.7 per cent in the retail industry, 83.9 per cent in distribution, 83.1 per cent in manufacturing, 81.7 per cent in engineering and 76.2 per cent amongst those in the construction industry.

The data comes from a survey of 300 UK recruitment professionals from CV-Library, and comes alongside analysis of millions of CV and jobs searches run on its platform throughout 2019, to compare employer demand with candidate appetite. It reveals that the roles with the biggest skills shortages include:


  1. Registered Nurse (32nd most searched for by employers, 1,830rd by candidates)
  2. Physiotherapist (59th most searched for by employers, 1,703rd by candidates)
  3. Occupational Therapist (60th most searched for by employers, 1,203rd by candidates)
  4. Primary Teacher (40th most searched for by employers, 819th by candidates)
  5. Java Developer (36th most searched for by employers, 751st by candidates)
  6. Legal Secretary (61st most searched for by employers, 572nd by candidates)
  7. Nursery Nurse (62nd most searched for by employers, 380th by candidates)
  8. Healthcare Assistant (64th most searched for by employers, 249th by candidates)
  9. Carer (65th most searched for by employers, 272nd by candidates)
  10. Purchase Ledger (66th most searched for by employers, 299th by candidates)

In addition to this, the job board looked at application data from 1st January – 31st December 2019 and compared this with findings from 1st January – 31st December 2014, to understand how the job market has evolved over the past five years. It reveals that application numbers have fallen by the greatest amount in the following industries:

  1. Retail (down 43.8 per cent)
  2. Catering (down 32.7 per cent)
  3. Administration (down 16.6 per cent)
  4. Customer Service (down 16.1 per cent)
  5. Recruitment (down 9.8 per cent)
  6. Electronics (down 5.4 per cent)
  7. Medical (down 5.3 per cent)
  8. Charity (down 2.9 per cent)
  9. Social Care (down 1.4 per cent)
  10. Education (down 0.3 per cent)

Despite this, demand for talent in each of these industries has increased. In fact, job numbers grew by 72.2 per cent in retail, 28 per cent in catering, 71.9 per cent in administration, 72.3 per cent in customer service, 44.4 per cent in recruitment, 43.8 per cent in electronics, 75.6 per cent in medical, 77.9 per cent in charity, 105.6 per cent in social care and 78 per cent in education.

“The UK skills crisis is a problem that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon,” said Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library. “Plus, it may worsen when the new immigration laws come into effect early next year, particularly for sectors that are heavily reliant on EU talent to fill their vacancies. For recruiters working in agencies, or in-house at organisations, there’s immense pressure to source the best candidates and fast. But this simply isn’t achievable when people aren’t actively looking for new jobs. There’s definitely pressure to take a more proactive approach and think outside the box if you want to be a step ahead of the competition.”

According to CV-Library’s study of recruiters, 57.3 per cent plan on hiring outside of their industry in 2020, in order to find top talent for their vacancies. This rose to 61.3 per cent in sales, 60 per cent in the social care industry and 58.1 per cent in marketing. Alongside this, when asked what areas they focus on the most when assessing candidates, 92.6 per cent of recruiters said experience, 56.7 per cent said potential and 33.8 per cent said their hard skills.

Biggins adds: “When it comes to finding the right candidates for your vacancies, you’ll want to make sure they match up to set criteria for the role. However, when skill shortages are rife you should definitely consider hiring someone based on their potential, rather than their experience. It’s not always an easy sell, but it can pay off massively and may be the only option in certain industries where you don’t need specific qualifications to apply.”

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