The CIPD has warned employers will have to work 'harder than ever' to attract and retain talent followng reports the labour market has bounced back to near pre-pandemic levels.
With lockdowns easing and the furlough scheme reducing, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released data revealing more people are going back to work. However, unemployment is still 1% higher than before the pandemic.
Jonathan Boys, labour market economist for the CIPD, said: “A year ago labour market forecasts were gloomy and expected post-financial crisis levels of unemployment.
"But today the labour market is fast taking on its pre-pandemic form, which is great news for workers.
"Tight labour markets can tilt the balance of power in their favour. Employers will have to work harder to attract and retain talent. Paying more is one solution, with skills shortages and inflation starting to bite, workers will be able to demand more money. However, in the long-term, investing in training and skills can ensure robust talent pipelines.”
Further sign of demand returning
The number of open jobs between April to June 2021 was 77,500 above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020, according to the ONS. They also reporteed 862,000 job vacancies in the UK between April and June - the first time it has reached this level in 15 months.
Matthew Percival, director for people and skills at CBI, said: "Vacancies exceeding pre-COVID levels is a further sign of demand returning and employers creating jobs," said the trade body that represents more than 190,000 British businesses.
"Yet businesses' ability to meet this demand, and support the recovery, is being challenged by staff shortages. As COVID cases rise, firms are facing the double difficulty of hiring workers and more employees self-isolating."
Sharp increase in redundancies
Joanne Frew, Head of Employment practice at legal business DWF, said the figures may dip as employers struggle to manage the uncertainty surrounding isolation due to the COVID infection rate increases and redundancies rise.
She said: "In March to May 2021, the redundancy rate demonstrates that the UK has returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, we can expect a sharp increase in redundancies at the end of September when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
"The 19 July 2021 lifting of restrictions will give businesses a two-month breathing space to get up and running before the government support is withdrawn."