Public sector employers are boosting wages in response to staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new report.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)’s research found that more than half (52%) of those surveyed have vacancies that are hard to fill and that expected pay awards in the sector have grown to 3.3%.
The professional body for HR and people development’s latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook revealed that while this is a record increase since tracking began in 2012, it still falls behind the median 5% wage expectations of private sector workers.
Among the private sector employers surveyed, four in 10 have hard-to-fill vacancies, while nearly a quarter (23%) expect to have great difficulty filling positions in the next six months.
In light of these findings, the CIPD is calling for employers to concentrate on offering flexible jobs, inclusive recruitment, job quality and investing in skills for the workforce.
Jon Boys, senior labour market economist for the CIPD, said: “The labour market may have become less competitive in recent months but there is still strong demand for workers across the economy, with public sector employers finding it particularly hard to find the staff they need.
“Pay will be key for many people in the cost-of-living crisis but employers should look beyond this to the full range of measures they can take to boost how they recruit and retain their employees. These include more inclusive approaches to recruitment, creating more flexible jobs, as well as investing in training and developing line managers’ people management skills.
“The UK Government could also help employers upskill their workforce and fill skills gaps by reforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a more flexible skills and training levy.”
The research highlighted that besides boosting pay to address the vacancies employers are also upskilling staff, with 55% of public sector and 49% of private sector employers taking this course of action.
Some employers are increasing the duties of existing employees in the public and private sectors, by 48% and 34% respectively, while 21% in the public sector and 32% in the private sector are improving job quality, for example, by increasing flexible working.