‘Business booming, but we don’t have the staff’

AS UNEMPLOYMENT numbers fall to their lowest since August 2018, business are struggling to find staff.

business
business

At the end of June there were 272 unemployed people in the island – 12 fewer than May. The Job Centre advertised 475 jobs in the same month – 175 fewer than the month prior.

But Source Recruitment has more than 500 active positions available on its website.

Of those, 90 vacancies are for roles in the funds and particularly private equity sector.

‘Business is booming across Guernsey, particularly in the local fund administration industry and fiduciary – they are all growing,’ said Source senior recruiter and head of business development Tony Jones.

‘We’ve got new businesses and teams, and places are expanding their head count. It is that simple, and it is the case across all sectors.’

But he said restaurants and bars in particular were struggling.

‘There are more jobs than people and we don’t have a big enough pool of talent. A lot of businesses we deal with take people straight from college or training programmes and train them through the ranks which is massively important but difficult, because they are all competing, and there is only a finite number of some jobs.’

Employment & Social Security president Peter Roffey said having a surplus of jobs available was better than the alternative of having mass unemployment.

‘It’s a complex situation and there is no easy solution, but Guernsey needs to encourage maximum economic participation,’ he said.

He said increasing childcare provision to allow for more parents to participate in the workforce, as well as encouraging people to work past state pension age, were also possible options.

‘We aren’t unique in this, it’s not going to just go away. Trying to find people to come to the island to fill jobs is a challenge, particularly in the public sector. Trying to get skilled tradesmen to work here is a lot more difficult that it was two or three years ago.’

Deputy Roffey said recruiting more people from outside the island would create more difficulties due to the housing crisis.

‘It would make the situation worse. It’s a catch-22 because one of the sectors facing shortages is construction. It’s a perfect storm.’

Last month there were 295 people in work while claiming additional financial support – an increase of six from May.

Some 22 new claims were made, compared with 21 in the previous month.

Leapfrog managing director Chris Gnapp said there had always been a disparity between the number of people and jobs available.

‘I’d say 80% of our clients are in financial services and everyone is looking for staff – that has been the case since the second lockdown. It’s replicated in the UK and it’s the same over here in all areas,’ said Mr Gnapp.

‘It’s important to note that Guernsey has a disparity between the jobs available and the people available and that has been exaggerated in the last 14 months but I think it is beginning to settle.’

He said that if space and housing was not an issue in Guernsey he would say the island needed an influx of new talent.

‘I don’t think it is far-fetched to say that three to four hundred people across all sectors arriving on a boat tomorrow, they would slot into jobs easily.’

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