Reacting to the latest ONS labour market figures, Jane Gratton, Deputy Director, Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce said:
“Today’s figures showing pay growing at a record annual pace highlight the unrelenting workforce pressures businesses are facing. In a tight labour market, employers are struggling to contain wage inflation as the expectations of their staff and job candidates continue to rise.
“BCC research published earlier this month, shows only a slight fall in the number of firms facing recruitment difficulties. Businesses tell us that access to skilled workforce remains a major concern.
“In the current challenging economic climate, boosting productivity is essential, and investment in skills is crucial to making that happen. We need the government to create the right conditions. For example, by reducing upfront business costs, enabling a more flexible apprenticeship levy and ensuring more access to rapid retraining courses.
“Firms who cannot access urgent skills locally are finding themselves locked out of the immigration system because of escalating costs and disproportionate criteria. We need urgent reform of the Shortage Occupation List to include more roles at more skill levels, when there is evidence of a national shortage.”