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Over 72,000 urgent UK jobs to fill amid pingdemic

Over 1.1 million job vacancies are lying open as the pingdemic worsens the UK worker shortage.

The ‘pingdemic’ is the latest challenge to sectors struggling to hire. There were 1,116,454 advertised job vacancies between 19th – 25th July, marking the 11th consecutive week of over 1 million open jobs.

Nearly 700,000 NHS Covid-19 app users were ‘pinged’ in the week to 21 July, a record high, according to NHS figures.

Retail has been particularly affected, with 30,958 advertised job openings, up 14% compared to just four weeks ago. As a result, July has seen Retail hiring hit its highest peak since November 2018, 31 months ago. This includes 10,282 positions currently available for supermarket workers, and 5,825 openings for retail assistants. Furthermore, the pingdemic has led to supermarket Iceland announcing plans to recruit an extra 2,000 staff to cover staff absences that had led to some stores having to close. M&S meanwhile, warned of potentially needing to reduce opening hours.

Other sectors affected by the pingdemic include: Hospitality & Catering (77,122 jobs, seeing it’s ninth of consecutive week of more than 70,000 openings and 374% higher than the 16,271 openings on offer this time last year); Trade & Construction (90,531, up 225% from 27,888); and Logistics & Warehousing (84,845, up 263% from 23,405).

The Government has released a list of sectors who are exempt from the need to isolate after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app – including emergency services workers, border control staff, and workers involved in food production among others – but in most other sectors, the guidance until 16th August is still for workers to isolate if pinged.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, that carried out the research, comments: “The pingdemic has hit just as businesses start to get to grips with filling open roles. The struggle to hire is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, with hundreds of thousands of workers still on furlough, hesitation among others to go back to work, fewer overseas workers available to fill positions, and a lack of skilled staff in some sectors. The pingdemic has compounded these issues, as many jobseekers are forced to self-isolate over attending interviews or starting work. This is on top of absences from existing staff who have been pinged. It’s a critical moment for industries like the wedding sector and some smaller independent shops and restaurants, who are relying on the summer period to make up for lost income needed to keep their businesses afloat. Meanwhile in sectors like Construction and Manufacturing, the pingdemic is causing pent-up demand as projects are delayed, meaning even more pressure to find staff going forwards. ”

More employers hiring ‘urgently’ and offering perks to attract staff

A total of 72,244 of the jobs currently advertised (6.5% of all job ads) are marked as ‘urgent’ or requiring an ‘immediate start’ as employers scramble for staff to keep their businesses running over the busy summer season.

In an effort to attract new joiners, more employers are advertising perks such as signing bonuses – a trend which has been spreading at pace in the US in recent months.

Tesco has announced that new HGV drivers joining before 30th September 2021 will receive a bonus of £1,000. Asda is also offering a £1,000 signing bonus to HGV drivers in some locations as well as offering a drivers apprenticeship programme.

The trend is also apparent in the Healthcare & Nursing sector. Elysium Healthcare is offering a welcome bonus of £5,000 for registered nurses, while The Priory Group is offering £5,000 for mental health nurses. Meanwhile, Care provider HC One is offering registered night nurses a signing bonus of £10,000.

There are also hundreds of openings on Adzuna offering signing bonuses for care workers, chefs, and nursery staff – among other roles affected by the pingdemic. In total, 4,852 advertised vacancies are currently offering a ‘welcome bonus’ across the UK.

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