Helping businesses to navigate labour shortages and grow

It's time to stop labour and skills shortages putting the brakes on recovery

Since the economy reopened following the COVID lockdowns, business has faced acute labour and skills shortages. Churn and the competition for people and skills is affecting firms in all sectors across the UK. It’s hampering growth – and requires business and government collaboration.

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

With a tight labour market set to continue, browse our campaign to ensure your company leaves no stone unturned to attract, retain and enhance the productivity of the people it needs to grow. It will keep pressure on government to align the UK’s skills and immigration system to fix systemic labour and skills shortages too. We're calling on the government to:

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

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

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

What can your business do?

Navigating labour and skills shortages requires a change of approach to job attractiveness, technology adoption, leadership and management, and skills investment. Redesign jobs to make them more attractive to candidates and embed diversity and inclusion practices. Adopt technology that optimises productivity or enables redeployment, and leadership and management practices that engage and develop staff for a more productive workforce. Firms must step up training investment at all levels to access the full benefits of better ways of working. Take a look at what other businesses are doing.

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    Maximise your talent pool

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    Invest in leadership and management capability

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    Invest in training

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    Adopt and diffuse new technology

The squeeze on labour and skills

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 war 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


The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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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.