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Business & Economy

‘Recruitment harder since pandemic for many’ – but 1700-plus jobs set to be created, says Entrepreneurs’ Forum

Recruiting workers is harder than it was pre-pandemic for many businesses – but more than 1700 jobs are expected to be created across the next 12 months, according to a new study.

Findings from the Entrepreneurs’ Forum show hiring staff is the biggest challenge for many operators across the region.

However, the survey also shows that while recruitment is tough, a number of firms are advertising for more roles, with 1751 jobs tipped to be rolled out over the next year.

More than 100 North East entrepreneurs responded to the survey – approximately a third of the Forum’s membership – with 72 per cent saying recruitment is more difficult now than before COVID-19 struck.

A further 25 per cent reported no change, with three per cent saying hiring has become easier.

Furthermore, 79 per cent said they are advertising vacancies, with 19 per cent having ten or more open positions, and four per cent having 50 or more vacancies.

Nine per cent expect to create 50 or more jobs, with 28 per cent planning to deliver ten or more roles.

Elaine Stroud, Entrepreneurs’ Forum chief executive [pictured, above], said: “Despite the perceived lack of labour, it’s encouraging to see members have a lot of confidence and hope for the future.

“Regardless of their current vacancy situation, it was clear from the responses that virtually all of our members are taking steps to attract more potential employees.”

Elaine added 40 per cent of respondents have increased pay and benefits packages, with 25 per cent turning to external agencies to find staff.

And Brendon Hayward, Entrepreneurs’ Forum board member and joint managing director at Northumberland-based Osbit, said the landscape presents great opportunity.

He said: “The changes in the labour market are the most exciting transition ever.

“People now seek a clearer purpose, an authentic culture, clear development opportunities, coaching, remunerative development, ESG credentials – the list goes on.

“The power balance many business leaders may have viewed through a relatively static lens has truly been upended.

“And the most innovative companies will evolve and capitalise on this.”