Cross-Sector Skills Shortage Impacts Northern Jobs Market

Over the past month, the team at XCL’s Huddersfield branch have noticed a surge in job vacancies across the North of England - and looking at a recent industry report, we’re not the only ones to have spotted the trend.

The latest REC/IHS Markit report revealed that the need for skilled workers in all sectors continued to rise in February, with strong growth seen in both job vacancies and client demand.

The requirement for additional staff across the North of England grew at a quicker rate than we saw in January, with new job creation increasing for both permanent and temporary positions - reaching two-month and four-month highs, respectively.

But despite this rise in job vacancies, skills shortages have had an impact on the Northern jobs market, and employers have found that there are not enough skilled candidates to fill their available positions.

Engineering was one of the main skills in short supply last month (continuing the shortage we noticed in January), alongside further shortages in accountants, developers and drivers.

With demand continuing to grow, employers throughout the country needing to expand their workforce, and the pool of skilled available candidates shrinking, businesses need to turn their focus to improving and optimising their recruitment processes to make sure they are attracting the right talent.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC commented:

“Employers need to make their jobs attractive to candidates to attract talent and skills to their organisation. Increasing starting pay is a good step, but it isn’t enough. Businesses need to focus on creating a great culture and investing in their people. The opportunity for development and the ability to progress are key for people looking to move job.”

XCL are a recruitment agency specialising in the construction, engineering, office & commercial and production sectors. Our focus is on developing a strong partnership with our clients to make sure we fully understand your business and recruitment needs.

Our longevity in the recruitment industry, coupled with our high standards and in-depth process have enabled us to build a database of experienced, skilled candidates. And our bespoke Matchmaker software ensures that we only ever put forward the most suitable candidates for your vacancies.

If you have a position you need to fill right now, or to discuss future recruitment needs, call our Huddersfield branch on 01484 819900 or send us an email to and we’ll be happy to help.