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UK firms seek staff after lockdown but foreign workers missing - survey

Mon, 17th May 2021 00:01

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - British businesses ramped up
their search for new staff as pubs, restaurants and other
hospitality and travel firms got ready for Monday's lifting of
coronavirus restrictions in England, a survey showed.

But an exodus of foreign workers is aggravating a shortage
of candidates, with more than 10 jobs on offer for every
job-seeker in some cities, according to the survey by job search
website Adzuna.

Job adverts on Adzuna jumped to 987,800 in the first week of
May, up by 18% from the end of March, which was before the
reopening of non-essential retailers and hospitality firms for
outdoor service on April 12.

A further lifting of restrictions to allow pub and
restaurants to serve customers indoors takes place in England on
Monday.

Adzuna said companies seeking to hire included pub firms
Whitbread, Stonegate Pub Company and JD Wetherspoons
, restaurant chains Nando's and Pizza Express, Marriott
hotels and airline Ryanair.

However, a lot of workers had given up on looking for
hospitality and retail jobs in favour of more secure work after
three lockdowns in the past year, it said.

"There are also far fewer foreign workers seeking employment
in the UK with overseas interest in UK jobs more than halving
from before the pandemic, hitting these industries hard," Andrew
Hunter, a co-founder of Adzuna, said.

Adzuna said 250,000 fewer job-seekers from western Europe
and North America applied for work in the United Kingdom per
month between February and April than before pre-pandemic.

"UK employers can no longer rely on overseas workers to plug
employment gaps," Hunter said.

A combination of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic are
believed to have cut the number of foreign workers in Britain.

Britain's statistics office estimates the number of non-UK
nationals employed in the country in the last three months of
2020 fell by 4.0% from the same period of 2019 to 4.22 million,
based on tax data, compared with a 2.6% fall for UK nationals to
24.0 million.

Adzuna said there were 13 jobs on offer for each job-seeker
in Manchester while the ratio in Cambridge and Oxford stood at
11. In Maidstone, southeast England, there were 20 jobs for
every job-seeker.

The shortage of workers is not unique to Britain.
Hospitality firms in parts of the United States have said their
holiday seasons are threatened by a lack of staff, echoing
recent problems in Australia.

A feared surge in job losses in Britain has not happened,
thanks largely to a massive public jobs subsidy scheme. That
furlough scheme is due to be phased out over the summer before
ending in September.
(Writing by William Schomberg
Editing by David Milliken)

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