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It’s time to stop recruitment and retention challenges holding back growth

Since the economy reopened following the COVID lockdowns, business has faced acute recruitment and retention challenges. Staff turnover and the competition for people is affecting firms in all sectors across the UK. It’s hampering growth – and requires business and government collaboration.

The CEO Action Plan

Here is a framework for CEOs to make decisions that ensure your company is leaving no stone unturned to meet the increased recruitment & retention challenge. It guides leaders through key questions and actions to inform your organisation’s response and shares practical ideas to consider adopting.

  • Future of Work —

    Navigating labour shortages: CEO action plan

What can your business do?

We’ve identified the four levers you can pull in your people strategy that have the biggest impact on recruitment and retention amid a persistently tight labour market. Learn how other businesses are changing their practice and innovating to reduce the impact on their business.

  • Future of Work —

    Maximise your talent pool

  • Future of Work —

    Invest in leadership and management capability

  • Future of Work —

    Invest in training

  • Future of Work —

    Adopt and diffuse new technology

How can the government help firms attract and retain talent and enhance productivity?

Demonstrating that business is doing all it can to compete for talent will help keep pressure on government to fix the UK’s skills system and align it with the immigration system to play its part in addressing systemic labour and skills shortages. We're calling on the government to:

  • Reform the apprenticeship levy and focus existing government-backed training and upskilling programmes to the most needed jobs

  • Create an independent Council for Future Skills to optimise training towards future economic demand and identify shortages in home-grown talent 

  • Make the immigration system more responsive to economic need through an urgently updated and annually agreed shortage occupation list

The workforce challenge

The twin shocks of COVID and Brexit have accelerated workers leaving the UK labour market

This crunch comes on top of long-standing challenges for some sectors and has brought the competition for talent to boiling point for most UK businesses.

  • Consistent record-high job vacancies are now at 1.3 million – 147% of their February 2020 average

  • An estimated half a million people of working age have left the UK labour market since 2020

  • Nearly half of UK businesses say retaining talent is a top priority for the coming year

Browse all resources

Browse exclusive CBI resources and activity designed to help your business navigate the increased recruitment & retention challenge.

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Support the change

  • Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business and help us campaign to ease labour shortages and enable firms to grow.

  • Have your say

    Want to have your voice heard on labour shortages? Find out the practical ways you can get involved and drive real change on the issues that matter to your business.

  • Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's changing workforce policy team. Contact Jennifer Beckwith to find out about the change UK business urgently needs and how you can support it.