Agenda item

Addressing the Labour Shortage

To consider a report on the challenges of the labour shortage and what could be done to address the issues, including provision of education and training, and encouraging migration to key sectors.

Minutes:

60.1   Pete Carr, Head of Employment and Skills, gave a report on the national arrangements in place to tackle this and what Gloucestershire County Council had done so far to address employment issues within the county.

 

60.2   The officer explained that nationally, the Unit of Future Skills had been set up to understand skills employers would need in order to help training providers plan to deliver these. Prior to the pandemic there had been sectors struggling to recruit but now it was an issue across all sectors. A shortage occupation list detailed roles that had more significant shortages such as dentists and care workers in order to clarify which job roles could be recruited from overseas.

 

60.3   Certain businesses were needing to increase salaries to remain competitive or find other ways to make employment packages more appealing to prospective employees. Gloucestershire County Council were supporting local businesses to explore job descriptions, inclusive employment practices, salaries, job packages, and job satisfaction (including the way this was rated by current/ex-employees through Glassdoor.com). The overall intention was to help employers increase applicant numbers and make their organisations more attractive to potential employees. In response to questions about Glassdoor.com it was explained that Gloucestershire County Council and District Authorities were focusing on employee benefits such as employer brand and flexible working to help attract new employees and increase employee retention and satisfaction.

 

ACTION – DSU to circulate the Glassdoor.com website for members to explore

 

60.4   The Council was also focused on ensuring colleges and training providers were providing courses that delivered the staff and skills that employers needed. An Ofsted grade had been introduced that evaluated whether courses were meeting local skills needs. Gloucester College was given as an example of a college that had gone through a recent Ofsted inspection and done considerable work to demonstrate how it was linking with industry and meeting the needs of employers.

 

60.5   It was also explained that the withdrawal of some level 2 apprenticeships would make it harder to recruit for elementary roles. The Council was supporting refugees with training and language skills to meet a number of local job requirements and the elementary role job posting uplift.

 

60.6   A member raised concern over the skills gap left by the reduction in Non-UK national residents in the UK following Brexit. It was also asked how easy it was for employers to bring in skilled migrants and what could be done to support this. The officer explained that one possible approach would be to publicise stories from businesses that had employed refugees to encourage refugee employment. Additionally, the Social Work Academy was directly targeting markets abroad for recruitment, though there was likely more that could be done with employment agencies to encourage more workers from abroad to go into other sectors.

 

ACTION – Head of Employment and Skills and Director of Economy and Environment to explore how the Growth Hub can support businesses with employing migrants and refugees

 

60.7   In response to questions about automation and productivity, it was explained that the Growth Hub was providing advice to businesses about ways automation could be used to plug labour shortages as well as boosting productivity.

 

60.8   Members raised wellbeing concerns for those who were a part of the increased number of economically inactive. The officer explained that the Employment & Skills Hub Outreach (ESHO) Project, which has been set up specifically to support economically inactive people in the County, was building an evidence base of the needs of these individuals (including wellbeing) and the sorts of interventions that proved to be most effective.

 

60.9   Members had questions about remote working and attracting work from outside Gloucestershire. This developed into a discussion around the importance of developing the local workforce as well as the potential of bringing in skills from elsewhere. Members also discussed Gloucestershire’s housing provision and how a lack of affordable housing could have been providing a barrier to workers who had planned to move to the area. Officers agreed that having business support at the Growth Hub for remote working was worth exploring in more detail.

ACTION – Head of Employment and Skills and Director of Economy and Environment to explore what remote working support was already in place and what more could be added

 

60.10 Concern was also raised over the high unemployment rate in those in the 16-24 age bracket. It was explained that Careers Hub was working with secondary schools, colleges and alternative provision settings, but it was difficult to target and support young people not in education. It was agreed that more work should be done for signposting and awareness of careers and that social media was a good platform for that.

 

 

Supporting documents: