Recognising the essential jobs that keep the UK working
As the economy reopens, Covid-19 restrictions are loosening and we are continuing to grapple with the impact of Brexit and evolving labour market needs brought about by the fourth industrial revolution and Artificial Intelligence, staffing shortages in essential jobs continue to impact UK businesses.
The pandemic highlighted that “Essential jobs” such as HGV drivers and care workers are the lifeblood of Britain’s economy, yet certain stigmas and lower levels of attractiveness are attached to these types of jobs, resulting in issues affecting talent acquisition and motivation to work in these sectors.
During 2022, City & Guilds will be running a year-long campaign to attempt to change public perception and highlight the importance of doing these great jobs. The Great Jobs campaign will:
- Spotlight the indispensable value and importance of ‘essential jobs’ in the UK’s economic recovery
- Support employers who are seeking to recruit workers into their industries
- Empower individuals to pursue careers in these industries
- Raise awareness of skilled workers and push for change in industries facing these challenges
What did the report find?
Earlier in February we launched the Great Jobs research report, which polled 10,000 working age people to understand their motivation for working in certain industries and not in others. The report found:
Just a quarter of working age adults would work in social care (25%) and healthcare (26%) and 22% would work in food production, agriculture or animal care.
3.1 million key worker job openings are expected in next five years – making up 50% of openings in UK job market. But only around a quarter of Brits would consider working in many of those roles.
Poor reputation and low pay expectations fuel unattractiveness, as cost-of-living skyrockets.
Industries such as construction, which only 9% of women said they would consider working in, will need to attract more diverse workforces to help fill vacant roles.
To find out more form our research findings click here.
How are City & Guilds Foundation supporting the Great Jobs campaign?
The City & Guilds Foundation is committed to acting as a catalyst for greater equality and opportunity in the world of skills and work. Some of the work we are already doing, which we believe can help upskill those who need it into jobs that are critical for the labour market, and give people the confidence to play a role in our economic recovery includes:
Removing barriers to get into a job.
One example of where we are attempting to address some of the challenges outlined in this report is our work to reduce reoffending. We know there are a large number of vacancies in the construction and agriculture sectors, and not enough skilled workers to fill them. We also know there is a huge issue around reoffending, and the cost of this is substantial not only financially but socially. That’s why we established the Future Skills Commission for Prisons, to help offenders develop the practical skills they need for lasting employment. Through the commission we have funded projects that really focus on helping those in prison to develop the critical skills they need to get a job on release.
Celebrating best practice for the future.
A key issue flagged in the report, preventing people from taking up essential jobs, is the respect they engender. It is therefore critical that we collectively work to shift perceptions and turn the dial so that these individuals are valued in the way they deserve. One of the ways we can do this is by recognising and rewarding best practice, something our Princess Royal Training Awards programme is designed to do.
Advocating for jobs of the future.
The report suggests that for some individuals there is a lack of confidence to start something new or to move out of their comfort zone which is holding people back. It’s a catch 22. However, our Social Impact work conducted in partnership with Cranfield University shows that confidence and wellbeing improve alongside skills developed, and especially on gaining employment. That’s why this is a key metric we track to hold ourselves accountable for meaningful change; are our learners building confidence, resilience and wellbeing as they complete our qualifications? This is the true test of training.
Not having the necessary skills is a major barrier to entering essential industries. There is no single solution to this; there needs to be a collective fight for future skills and for the opportunity to gain them.
For more information on the Great Jobs campaign or to read the research report click here.