Four people competing for each job vacancy in Hull

There are currently over 9,000 people out of work in the city, with just over 2,000 vacancies.

A new report has shown that there are four job seekers competing for each role available in Hull, which is considerably higher than the national average that currently stands at 1.2.

As a result, the LGA, which supports and promotes local authorities, is calling for councils to be granted more powers to tackle unemployment and the cost of living crisis. Across England, nearly a third of council areas had at least two people competing for each job vacancy, while in some places that figure was much higher.

Kevin Bentley, chairman of the LGA’s people and places board, said: “These changes are not being felt equally across the country, with too many people battling for fewer jobs in some areas, while in others employers are crying out for skilled workers to meet demand. The Government’s ‘one size fits all’ national approach to employment and skills is no longer fit for purpose.

“Levelling up should mean adapting support to local needs, making it more personalised and joined-up for people seeking work, while recognising the wide variations not just between different parts of the country, but also within them. No area should be left behind.

“Councils and combined authorities – who know their communities best – want to be front and centre in ensuring everyone has the chance to learn new skills and find work, in good jobs needed by local businesses, in the places where they live.”

Job vacancies outnumber unemployment for first time

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% between January and March, its lowest in almost 50 years, as job openings soared to a new high of 1.3 million.

However, wages, excluding bonuses, failed to keep pace with rising prices, a problem that is expected to intensify due to growing food and fuel costs.

The figures show “a mixed picture” said the Office for National Statistics.

Ben Harrison, director of the Work Foundation think tank at Lancaster University, said: “Despite employment continuing to rise, today’s figures underline the challenges facing workers who are seeing inflation eat away at their living standards.”

The data showed that there was a rise in the number of people moving from economic inactivity – classed as those aged 16-64 who haven’t been working or seeking a job – into employment.

At the same time, people moving from job-to-job also reached a record high “driven by resignations rather than dismissals”, said the ONS.

“Total employment, while up on the quarter, remains below its pre-pandemic level,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS.

“Since the start of the pandemic, around half a million more people have completely disengaged from the labour market,” he added.

“However, job vacancies are still rising, reaching yet another record high.”

Heavy goods vehicle drivers to benefit from £20 million of funding for better roadside facilities.

HGV drivers will benefit from £20 million to improve roadside facilities, as part of continued government action with industry to boost driver welfare and tackle the effects of the global driver shortage in the UK.

The funding is part of National Highways’ existing £169 million Users and Communities Fund, and will go specifically towards improving security, showers and eating facilities as well as exploring increasing parking spaces for lorry drivers. Roadside service operators are being encouraged to apply for the multimillion-pound fund immediately.

The funding takes the total government investment in driver facilities to £52.5 million since last year. £32.5 million was previously committed in the Chancellor’s budget to provide better facilities right across the country for HGV drivers, to drive up standards and further safeguard driver comfort and safety.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:

“HGV drivers play a key role in keeping our nation running and contributing to the economy, and it is vital they feel safe and comfortable wherever they stop.

That’s why we’re allocating £20 million to ramp up security and improve amenities for drivers – building on the raft of measures we’ve already taken to support the industry.

We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to boost professional driver numbers even further.”

Nick Harris, National Highways Chief Executive, said:

“We want all road users to reach their destination safely and encourage everyone, from those who drive as a profession through to people traveling on holiday or for leisure purposes, to plan ahead before setting off and to take regular breaks.

We are dedicated to improving the experience of everyone using our roads and remain committed to working closely with operators of roadside facilities to help improve the standard of parking and other amenities they provide on motorways and major A-roads. We are hopeful that the £20 million being announced today will go some way towards achieving this goal.”

A Logistics UK Skills Report 2021 revealed significant steps have been taken by both government and industry to help address recruitment issues that have plagued the sector for years.

Confusion over pay rates for NHS agency workers could lead to further staff shortages and concerns over patient safety

Staffing agencies in the healthcare sector are concerned that NHS agency workers are not getting the pay increase awarded to substantive staff last year, and that agencies are unfairly being left responsible for covering the increased National Insurance contributions announced by the Chancellor. This could represent a serious threat to the sector’s ability to provide staff to the NHS – which is already struggling with long waiting lists and the most significant staff shortages we have seen since the start of the pandemic.

On 29 March 2022, NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) published their updated agency rate card which determines wage rates for 2022-23. This publication fails to award agency workers with the 3% increase given to their permanent equivalents, and comes just days before National Minimum Wage and National Insurance changes come into force. This short notice creates operational challenges for agencies and the NHS Trusts they supply, and prevents workers having clarity around their new pay rates – at a time when the cost of living crisis has already started to bite. This is despite the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) having raised the issue numerous times with various government organisations since July 2021.

The REC is urging government and the NHS to undertake a fundamental review of frameworks and price caps in the health service, as well as work with agencies on building a long-term workforce plan.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

“Over the past two years and more, healthcare staffing agencies and agency workers have proven what an important part of the NHS they are – and were personally thanked by the then Minister for their contribution during the pandemic. Every day, our members place temporary staff exactly where they are needed, efficiently and at incredibly short notice. Without agency staff the NHS would be unable to meet patient needs, so it is vital that the sector is supported to remain viable. Constant pressure on agency rates fails to take into account why people currently choose to work via an agency in the NHS, and will only make the current staff shortages worse. If this is allowed to continue, we will see an uplift in off-framework activity. Our members can provide insight to help government and the NHS build a really sustainable and successful health service. If that expertise and experience is ignored, it will only impact patient care – and no one wants that.” 

SureGroup visits local Children’s Centre to donate Easter gifts

Continuing our efforts to spread some Easter eggcitement to local children, we also visited one of the many East Riding Children’s Centres in Anlaby.

We met Sally Whitaker, Senior Early Help Practitioner, and her team, with a donation of Easter eggs to hand to some of the children and families who visit the centre.

The centre is a friendly and welcoming community space offering a range of activities and services for children and their families, ensuring every child gets the best start in life.

Sally and her team know that being a parent is a tough job, so they offer the right help at the right time, without judgement, so that families can feel confident, safe, healthy and above all happy.

We hope our donation of chocolate brings a smile to some faces this Easter!

Spreading Easter cheer to our workers’ families!

We’ve been out and about spreading some Easter cheer to many of our workers’ families.

The team made a visit to the Irena Sendler Polish School this weekend at St Georges Road, Hull and made a donation of not only Easter Eggs but stationery too.

The school was formed in 2006 and keeps the tradition of it’s founder Irena Sendler, who was a Polish humanitarian, social worker and nurse during the World War II.

The Irena Sendler Polish School caters for children aged between 3 and 16 years old, mainly from Polish families or mixed families, and offers the opportunity to learn reading and writing in Polish whilst accustoming themselves with the traditions and history of Poland.

As you can see, the children were delighted with the gifts and they were very welcomed by the teachers too!

We wish them a Happy Easter.

Is ‘Bleak Friday’ all about The Chancellor balancing the books?

Today, we saw an increase in the National Living Wage. So, what does this mean for you?

As an employee, you will see a pay increase of 6.6%. However, the financial impact on businesses is considerable.

Many businesses across the UK will find themselves in a difficult position with an increased National Living Wage alongside the introduction of the Health and Social Care Levy. The timing of this is unfortunate as we are experiencing sky-high fuel prices and an increase to energy prices which will see the average household fork out an extra £700 per year annum on average.

The drastic increase in energy prices is due to a number of factors, including an increase in wholesale global energy prices, with gas prices increasing to a record high in the last six months and wholesale prices quadrupling in the last year or so.

This rise in energy is predicted to be not only here for the short term but it is expected the next price cap increase will take place in October this year and may continue for several years to come

The result of this is that many businesses and households across the country will struggle financially this year and the question is, what can be done?

Can the government do more? Many are left wondering if the government are giving with one hand and taking with the other. Whilst the increase in National Living Wage, the £150 council tax discount and a £200 rebate on energy bills may help to offset some financial difficulties, the introduction of the Health Care levy paired with an increase in both energy bills and council tax may tip the scales unfavourably.

Undoubtedly, the country is facing the most significant financial hardship its’ faced since World War 2 due to the pandemic, and we have to consider whether the Chancellor has been backed into a corner with these decisions.

Whilst the government offered support to employees and employers alike during COVID, with the introduction of the Furlough Scheme, this has to come at a cost. The introduction of the Health and Social Care Levy is anticipated to raise almost £36 billion which we are assured will go straight back to the frontline services across the UK.

Many have challenged the government on the introduction of the levy, stating that it is breaking the Conservative manifesto commitment not to raise taxes.

The cost of living is increasing, as are businesses overheads, but we need businesses to succeed and thrive to ensure our economy is stable.

Do you know about the introduction of the Health Care Levy from April 2022?

As well as an increase in the National Living Wage in April 2022, we also see the introduction of the Health Care Levy from April 2022. This will see an increase of 1.25% in your National Insurance Contributions.

As a result of the above statutory changes, it is likely there will be a reduction to your take home pay from April 2022 onwards, however in the Spring budget, the Chancellor announced that, from July, the earnings threshold at which people start to pay National Insurance will rise to £12,570. From July it has been estimated that those earning under £35,000 will likely see a reduction in their National Insurance payments

The introduction of this new levy is something that is not driven by SureStaffing UK or any of its associated companies. This is a UK-wide Government levy that will impact all taxpayers.

Please note we are not able to advise you on the effects of this levy and to the impact it will have to your personal circumstances.

National Living Wage is set to increase, but is it enough?

The National Living Wage (NLW) will rise to £9.50 from 1st April 2022, which represents an increase of £0.59 or 6.6% from the current National Living Wage of £8.91

This increase is based on the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations and puts the minimum wage back on track to reach the Government’s target of two thirds of median earnings by 2024.

Below is a chart showing the current and new rates as of 1st April 2022.

Rate from April 2022 Current rate (April 2021 to March 2022) Increase
National Living Wage £9.50 £8.91 6.6%
21-22 Year Old Rate £9.18 £8.36 9.8%
18-20 Year Old Rate £6.83 £6.56 4.1%
16-17 Year Old Rate £4.81 £4.62 4.1%
Apprentice Rate £4.81 £4.30 11.9%
Accommodation Offset £8.70 £8.36 4.1%

 

UK falling behind international peers in adult technical skills

The UK is falling behind international peers in terms of adult technical skills with just 18% of 25–64-year olds’ holding a vocational qualification. We are currently experiencing an incredibly tight labour market, exacerbated by labour and skills shortages. Tackling economic inactivity and ensuring we can upskill and reskill our domestic workforce is critical, especially when you consider that UK employers spend just half the European average on training their employees.

To help alleviate this issue, the government is considering whether the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy is doing enough to incentivise businesses to invest in a variety of training.

The impact of levy reform in the current labour market could be higher than ever before – helping to fill vacancies quickly by equipping people with the right skills. A more accessible route to using levy money would be a valuable tool in the government’s levelling up agenda and improve social mobility. In the five years between 2015 and 2020, the number of new apprentices fell by a whopping 237,470. Reforming the levy is something the REC has campaigned on for years, and we’ll continue to work with Ministers and officials to ensure it works effectively for everyone in the labour market.

Read more here – https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/insights/government-and-campaigns/spring-statement-2022