‘Perfect storm’ makes it difficult for businesses to fill vacancies

Wendy Dorey, President of the Guernsey Branch of the Institute of Directors.

The most recent unemployment figures showed that the number of people out of work is at its lowest level in four years, but many recruiters are still struggling to find staff.

“The recruitment and skills crisis in Guernsey is the result of many different factors – it’s a perfect storm of recent events such as Brexit, the rising cost of living and the long-term effect of the pandemic of Covid-19,” Wendy Dorey said. .

“The ripple effect of Britain leaving the EU and the impact of the Covid shutdowns has meant that Guernsey has lost members of its workforce, particularly in certain sectors. Today, with the rising cost of living and housing shortage, bringing these people back to Guernsey has become more difficult than ever.

The housing shortage is a major contributor to skills shortages, as potential employees cannot move to the island due to unaffordable housing.

“Not all skills can be acquired on the island and this is unlikely to be fully possible, so we need to identify more effective methods of developing the skills of workers in Guernsey’s essential sectors.

“Guernsey has a reputation for being a better place to live compared to some parts of the UK. This is partly explained by the rise in property prices and the limited housing stock, which affects first-time buyers, family homes and the rental market.

By the end of June, the number of unemployed on the island had fallen to 272, 12 less than the previous month.

“The cost of living is rising around the world, however, we need to find a solution that fits the complexities of the island’s economy and housing development, as well as focus on solutions that fit the different sectors involved,” said Ms. Dorey.

Most sectors are facing shortages, but as fund and trust administration companies grow, more and more jobs are becoming available without the people available to fill them.

“We cannot underestimate the effect of the pandemic on recruitment around the world. Guernsey may not have seen the same levels of quitting as the UK, but we are heavily reliant on the UK for off-island recruitment. As a result, we are seeing local spillovers into junior and mid-level positions, which could have long-term implications for our finance and professional services sectors, which are a critical component of our economic success.

She said short-term action was needed alongside long-term planning to ensure the island had the right mix of skills and an attractive community for young people.

“Collaboration between business and government, more job training opportunities, mentorship schemes, a focus on digital skills and ensuring that Guernsey remains a desirable and affordable place to live are all essential to maintaining the economic and social success of the islands.”

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