Record number of job vacancies as Suffolk lacks workers in key sectors

Suffolk has a high number of job vacancies in the construction, manufacturing and distribution sectors

Suffolk has a high number of job vacancies in the construction, manufacturing and distribution sectors - Credit: PA/iSTOCKPHOTO

Suffolk is desperate for workers in the construction, engineering, and manufacturing industries, as the number of vacancies in the UK rises to record levels.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the number of open job vacancies fell sharply at the beginning of the pandemic — reaching the lowest level since 2000. But has since risen to the highest level, with 835,000 jobs currently open.

According to statistics from online job board CV-Library, nearly 3,000 of these vacancies are in Suffolk.

The firm's data shows there are 390 unfilled construction jobs in the county, along with 255 in distribution and 252 in manufacturing and surveying.

There are also a substantial number of roles in social care, engineering and administration. 

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Michelle Pollard, owner and director of Ipswich-based recruitment firm Spider, said the record-breaking number of vacancies was down to a "double-whammy" of Covid and Brexit.

"A lot of the talent in the most in demand sectors came from overseas," she said. "Now that you haven't got that ebb and flow of candidates being able to come and go — coupled with Covid — it's going to be a problem in the short-term until they sort out the points system."

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However, Ms Pollard is expecting a flood of candidates in the next few months to help fill the vacancies as confidence in the economy increases.

She said: "Candidates who have been holding on in roles that they're not happy in, they are now about to resign. I'd like to go and put bet on that — I think that's going to happen quite soon.

"The Americans are calling it the great resignation."

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The recruitment challenges we are seeing in some of our key sectors are due to a combination of factors, including Covid, Brexit, and the end of the furlough scheme.

Chris Starkie of New Anglia LEP

Chris Starkie of New Anglia LEP - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

"Suffolk has an ageing population and younger people may not be coming in to replace those who are leaving sectors such as construction or logistics, while in general more people are now looking for a better work/life balance than they may have enjoyed before."

Mr Starkie said the LEP was working with the Department for Work & Pensions and local colleges to help fill vacancies.

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