How Businesses Can Respond to a Post-Pandemic Staffing Crisis

UK employers are facing the worst labour shortage since 1997. In this eBook, we explore how the crisis has emerged – and explore ways businesses can more effectively respond to it.


Following a successful vaccine rollout, the UK’s strict lockdown restrictions have slowly lifted in recent months. But despite enabling an economic recovery that has outperformed expectations, this has created a new set of challenges for British businesses.


While demand for goods and services has boomed, numerous industries are struggling to find the staff they need to properly respond to that demand. More companies are hiring today than were pre-pandemic. Surveys from the British Chambers of Commerce showed 70% that had tried to hire staff in the three months to June 2021 had struggled to do so.


The truth about the shortage

The hospitality sector has a shortage of 188,000 jobs at the same moment experts suggest 72% of all businesses in the sector are at risk of shutting permanently in 2021.



A similar picture is seen across numerous other industries. Ultimately, businesses must develop more sophisticated strategies to deal with the current crisis. In order to do this, they need to understand the complex factors shaping the current staffing landscape.

Understanding the Great Labour Shortage

It has been widely reported that lockdowns have caused workers across virtually all industries to reappraise their attitudes towards work. A majority of UK workers now claim they are actively on the lookout for work they find meaningful. And 75% of workers have made changes – or plan to make changes – to how and where they work. This has shaken up the entire staffing landscape. 


A great number of workers were forced to change professions during the pandemic, and many have decided not to return to their previous roles.


During the same period, we saw the gradual easing of lockdowns across the UK, the number of delivery shifts needing to be filled rose by 15.6%.


Labour shortages are highly location-specific

Another effect of the pandemic has been geographical: record numbers of people have left London during the pandemic, and other cities have seen similar trends – as workers look to live in quieter, more affordable areas which are perceived to offer a better quality of life.


Our proprietary data reveals the shortage of delivery drivers is most acute in Edinburgh, where driver numbers tumbled by 54% between March and June while the number of available shifts posted by employers spiked by 131%.

What should businesses expect in 2022 and beyond?

While the staffing outlook may appear bleak, there are many reasons for businesses to feel optimistic looking forward. The combined impacts of the pandemic and Brexit has drawn much-needed attention to pre-existing problems – and given businesses the opportunity to resolve them before it’s too late.


UK household savings are the second highest they have been since 1963. And as the UK economy continues to grow, businesses that are able to get a handle on their staffing challenges will reap the benefits of an economic resurgence.


With the right approach to the Great Labour Shortage, businesses will thrive into 2022 and beyond.


Four Ways Businesses Can Respond

Download the eBook in full to explore the best ways to tackle the staff shortage.