Strike-hit education and health sectors struggling to recruit staff – report

Employers in the strike-hit education and health sectors are facing challenges recruiting staff, new research suggests.

A survey of 2,000 senior managers found that more than half of those in education and healthcare have vacancies which are hard to fill.

Both sectors have been hit by strikes for several months in bitter disputes over pay and staffing.

CIPD, the professional body for human resources managers, said its survey found that public sector employers were raising pay to “new highs” in response to challenges of finding staff.

Almost half of public sector employers expect significant problems filling vacancies to continue over the next six months, said the report.

Pay awards in the public sector have risen to 3.3%, the highest level seen in the CIPD’s report since tracking began in 2012, although this is still lower than median pay rise expectations of 5% among private sector employers.

Jon Boys, senior labour market economist for CIPD, said:

“The labour market may have become less competitive in recent months but there is still strong demand for workers across the economy, with public sector employers finding it particularly hard to find the staff they need.

“Pay will be key for many people in the cost-of-living crisis but employers should look beyond this to the full range of measures they can take to boost how they recruit and retain their employees.

“These include more inclusive approaches to recruitment, creating more flexible jobs, as well as investing in training and developing line managers’ people management skills.

“The Government could also help employers upskill their workforce and fill skills gaps by reforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible skills and training levy.”

A Government spokesperson said: “Since 2010 we’ve increased the number of teachers working in state-funded schools by 24,000, now totalling more than 465,000.

“We want to continue bringing great people into teaching and have introduced bursaries worth up to £27,000 tax-free and scholarships worth up to £29,000 tax-free, to attract talented trainees in subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing.

“There are also record numbers of staff working in the NHS, with over 51,500 more people compared to a year ago – including over 5,300 more doctors and over 12,300 more nurses. We want to build on this progress and the NHS will publish a Long Term Workforce Plan shortly to recruit and retain more staff.”