UK SEAFOOD REPORT REVEALS RECRUITMENT DIFFICULTIES
The UK Seafood Report, capturing views of the processing sector on the ease of recruitment and retention of staff. has been published by Seafish.
In June 2018, Seafish collected data on the ease of recruitment and retention of staff in the UK seafood processing sector during the second quarter of 2018 (April – June) as part of a 2- year series of quarterly surveys. The sample of processing sites responding represents around 60% of FTE jobs in the sector.
38% of seafood processors in the sample said that they had found it more difficult to fill vacancies in the second quarter of 2018 (April – June) than in the first quarter (January – March) of the year, compared to 5% of respondents who said they had found recruitment easier. This change in ease of recruitment can be in part explained by an expected seasonal increase in landings by the fishing fleet meaning that processing sites needed to recruit more staff in April – June 2018.
Larger processing sites reported more difficulties in recruitment than smaller sites. More than two thirds of sites in the 250+ FTE size band said that recruitment had become more difficult than in the preceding quarter; all sites in the 1-10 FTE size band reported no difference in ease of recruitment with most sites saying they had no need to recruit.
The key factor affecting recruitment in April – June 2018 was a shortage of candidates.
According to 14% of survey respondents (10 processing sites) people from the EU are less willing to come to the UK to work in seafood processing. Explanations for this included the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the lower value of sterling, and efforts of European countries to encourage their citizens to return home (including financial incentives).
8% of respondents (6 processing sites) said they had no problem recruiting staff in April – June 2018; these were all smaller sites with fewer than 25 FTEs.
According to processors, the main barrier to recruiting British staff in the seafood processing industry remains the negative perception of the industry held by potential candidates. Over half of respondents said this was a barrier to recruiting British staff.
A quarter of respondents said that low levels of local unemployment were a barrier to recruiting British staff.
The most reported method used for direct recruitment of permanent, temporary and seasonal staff in the processing sector was via word of mouth through existing employees.
Over 80% of processors in the sample said that they would increase their efforts to recruit locally if they were unable to hire enough staff using their current recruitment techniques.Processors were least confident about their ability to recruit enough high-skilled staff. Almost 40% of respondents said they were slightly doubtful or doubtful about their ability to recruit enough high-skilled staff in July – September 2018.
Processors were generally confident about their ability to meet their planned production levels in the next quarter.
The full report is on the Seafish website, www.seafish.co.uk