5 UK businesses that are helping get people back to work
Skill shortages in the UK have been well-documented over the past year, with companies across various industries struggling to fill vacancies. ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage survey found that 80% of UK businesses reported persistent difficulty filling jobs, more than double the pre-pandemic high of 35% in 2019.
The ability to successfully find new staff is essential for helping a business to grow, so alleviating these talent shortages – and fast – is essential. But the good news is there are companies out there working to help these long-suffering industries. We took a closer look at five of them.
The hospitality industry was arguably the worst hit during the pandemic. A study from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute and Scotland’s Rural College found job numbers declined by 23% between March and December 2020, and with vacancies still up by 32,000 on pre-pandemic levels, the hospitality industry continues to face significant challenges. However, Slinger is one company helping to tackle these staff shortages.
Slinger is a job platform offering flexible hospitality shifts to side hustlers, students, and hospitality professionals around the UK. Moving away from traditional hiring practices like CVs and job boards, Slinger vets potential workers by video, helping hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes attract temporary or full-time staff depending on their needs.
Last week, the firm secured £500k in venture funding to help solve the £25bn vacancy gap in UK hospitality. Slinger’s Founder, Theo-Lee Houston, believes the solution to this problem is to shake up the industry’s hiring process and make the CV redundant.
2. Business Disability Forum
In the UK, a significant disparity exists between disabled and non-disabled people when it comes to unemployment. From January to March 2023, 342,000 working-age disabled people were unemployed, whilst the unemployment rate for disabled people stood at 6.2%. Although this rate had decreased from 6.6% a year prior, the unemployment rate for people who are not disabled was 3.4% during this period, which indicates the range of barriers that disabled people face when going to work.
However, the Business Disability Forum works to remove barriers to inclusion for disabled employees. The business membership organisation works with over 550 members, advising, supporting, and encouraging businesses in the UK and around the world to become more disability smart. The company’s 40-strong team, led by CEO Diane Lightfoot, offers everything from in-depth, specialist advice to networking opportunities and thought leadership in order to help businesses on this journey.
Apprenticeships are an excellent – and often underutilised – method for addressing the UK’s ongoing skills shortages. With the number of people doing apprenticeships in England increasing by 9% in the 2021/22 academic year compared to the year before, there are positive signs that more people, and companies, are beginning to see the value apprenticeships provide.
Multiverse is helping to alter the way they are perceived. Since being founded by Euan Blair, the son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the professional apprenticeship provider has trained more than 10,000 apprentices in partnership with more than 1,000 employers globally. With 93% of Multiverse apprentices remaining with their employer post-apprenticeship, the firm provides long-term value for UK companies.
Last year, Multiverse was valued at £1.4bn after receiving $220m (£180m) from a group of investors, including US investment firm StepStone Group.
A lack of digital skills is one of the UK’s biggest growth inhibitors. Estimates suggest that the digital skills gap costs the UK economy as much as £63bn a year in potential GDP, and with 82% of UK jobs already requiring digital skills, the sooner the digital skills gap is closed the better.
The lack of available digital skills means UK companies are being left with digital projects they can’t fulfil, but Gigged.AI deploys AI-matching algorithms to help businesses source and onboard on-demand tech talent, while enabling SMEs and larger corporates to retain existing staff. Providing access to a talent pool of over 15,000 freelancers, including more than 4,000 Data Engineers, 3,000+ Software Developers, and 1,000+ UX Designers, the Glasgow-based firm raised £1.6m in a Par Equity-led seed funding round earlier this year and announced plans to grow its team.
IPSE’s Self-Employed Landscape Report 2022 found that highly skilled freelancers are estimated to provide £126bn to the UK economy per year, but businesses can be reluctant to take them on.
John Paul Caffey, CEO of RAMP.Global, believes businesses shouldn’t fear freelancers. He says: “Hiring is unpredictable at the moment, but uncertainty isn’t always synonymous with negativity. Hiring temporary workers is a proactive measure, enabling organisations time to build stability, preventing another round of layoffs.”
PeoplePerHour has been helping businesses that recognise the value freelancers provide for more than 15 years. Trusted by more than one million businesses worldwide, the online freelancer platform provides access to more than three million freelancers specialising in 8,766 skills. Since it was founded in 2007, PeoplePerHour has paid out more than £100m to its freelancer community. It utilises AI in order to match the best freelancer to an individual project, with freelancers then providing businesses with a tailored proposal for the work being requested.