Addressing the skills shortage crisis with a diverse workforce

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As the country celebrates National Inclusion Week, Gareth Parry calls on businesses to embrace the opportunity for more inclusive recruitment.

“The current shortage of workers is impacting the lives of millions and shows no sign of ending. Many industries are calling out for new talent as job roles are left unfilled, and organisations are operating with a reduced workforce.

This week I was invited to speak at the ‘It’s All About Inclusion’ Conference, hosted by supply chain company Wincanton. It was attended by leading businesses in the retail and logistics sector.

As we celebrate National Inclusion Week, there is no better time to consider how businesses can become more inclusive, while helping to address their need for talent by employing people from a diverse background.

Engaging with jobseekers who may not be working with your usual recruitment partners is a win-win.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many firms to make mass redundancies and pushed many people to retrain for different sectors.

Industries such as retail, supply chain and hospitality were hardest hit. As the economy begins to recover, it is these industries which are now unable to fill vacancies.

But while the labour market is roaring back to life, and the lack of skilled jobseekers is affecting businesses from supermarkets to the local café, millions remain out of work or without the skills to access good-paying jobs in growth sectors.

Long-term unemployment has risen by more than 40% and groups such as disabled people, ethnic minorities and older workers are still disadvantaged in finding work.

In some cases, employment ‘gaps’ have widened over the past 18 months.

As many sectors face a skills shortage, savvy businesses have begun considering how they can employ new talent at scale, while also working to address their diversity and inclusion priorities and deliver a greater impact on the communities they serve.

Employing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce has long been a priority for organisations looking to drive business success.

Every year we work with tens of thousands of people from varied backgrounds to develop new skills and find work.

We deliver employment and skills programmes, specifically supporting disabled people, the long-term unemployed and people with an offending background.

We offer personalised support that removes barriers to applying for suitable roles and matching them with the right employer.

The recently launched Restart Scheme, delivered on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, will help hundreds of thousands of people who have been out of work for more than 12 months to overcome often complex barriers to employment.

Launched in July, we’ve already supported hundreds into work across sectors including logistics, care and retail.

Out of the pandemic is emerging a tremendous opportunity, to make inclusion a meaningful reality while supporting the nation’s businesses as they rebuild from the pandemic.

An opportunity to help fix some of the longstanding inequalities in our jobs market.

Employers value their partnerships with us as we help them fill job roles with people from diverse backgrounds who may not have otherwise applied for their roles.”

30 September, 2021