Why recruiting staff will get tougher in 2019

Employers will find it increasingly difficult to recruit staff in 2019, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is predicting.

The latest Quarterly Economic Survey, carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce, found that 81 per cent of manufacturing firms and 70 per cent of service businesses that tried to recruit in the final three months of 2018 struggled to do so.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “For manufacturers across the UK, finding staff is as difficult now as it has been at any point since the British Chambers’ survey began 30 years ago.

“In parts of Cumbria it’s tougher still. Eden and South Lakeland have the lowest unemployment rates in the UK.

“We don’t see this changing any time soon given that Cumbria has a super-ageing population. We have more people retiring than there are young people joining the workforce, so the county’s working-age population is shrinking.”

The Chamber is encouraging employers to be more flexible and innovative in searching for potential recruits.

We have resources (see below) to help businesses attract, retain and retrain older workers, disabled employees and Armed Forces’ veterans.

The British Chambers’ Quarterly Economic Survey is the largest private business survey in the country, drawing on responses from more than 6,000 businesses.

Its latest findings suggest that inflationary pressures are building again with a sharp increase in the number of businesses expecting to raise prices in the next three months.

Price rises are being driven by the weak pound, which has pushed up the cost of imported goods and raw materials.

Growth and investment remain muted.

Rob said: “While the economy isn’t contracting, it’s not growing robustly either. Given the continuing uncertainty around what sort of Brexit we’re going to get, it’s no surprise that firms are reporting weak domestic demand and investment.

“The Government has to act now to turbo-charge business confidence. Its priority must be to provide clarity on conditions in the near term and avoid a messy and disorderly Brexit.”



Listen to our podcast on how businesses can cater for disabled customers and employ more disabled staff.

Click here to read how your business can benefit from employing Armed Forces’ veterans.

Click here for information on employing older workers and here to listen to our podcast on older workers.


See the Chamber’s Chief Executive, Rob Johnston, and Business Engagement Manager, Julian Whittle, discussing the findings of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey on That’s TV Cumbria, which broadcasts a rolling TV news service on Freeview Channel 8.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce