Halifax firms are struggling to recruit despite record number of job vacancies

Martin HathawayMartin Hathaway
Martin Hathaway
The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce's latest economy report shows that employment intentions are strong across Calderdale but many local firms are reporting issues with access to suitably skilled individuals.

65 per cent of service sector firms and 81 per cent of manufacturers are reporting difficulties recruiting in the last quarter, up from 56 per cent and 57 per cent respectively in quarter two of this year.

The latest Quarterly Economic Report from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has revealed the true impact that Covid-19, Brexit and ongoing supply chain challenges are having on the local economy.

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Service sector sales growth remains strong across Halifax, but manufacturing sales have slowed, due largely to supply chain challenges that are resulting in fulfilments being delayed.

International sales remain subdued across the region, with around half of manufacturers still facing challenges exporting into the EU, while the cost and availability of logistics and transportation remains problematic, with UK border delays and the impact of new trade procedures the most commonly cited barriers.

The availability and cost of raw material is also being cited by manufacturers as a major challenge, alongside shipping disruptions and driver shortages.

Martin Hathaway, managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said of the results: “I am delighted to see growth in our region’s domestic sales as we push forward with our Covid-19 recovery. This is testament to the true Yorkshire spirit that is embodied by our region’s business community.

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“While growth figures are looking promising, ongoing supply chain issues and struggles to trade overseas are still being faced by many here in Yorkshire and across the UK.

“Firms are still being impacted by the fall-out from Brexit, compounded by the more recent issues experienced by operators that rely on HGV transport.

“Longer term solutions are needed to ensure we can future proof our operations and supply chains should further restrictions be needed over the winter months.”

Robin Tuddenham, chief executive of Calderdale Council, added: “After the challenges of the past 18 months, we’re looking to the future with hope and aspiration. It’s full steam ahead for our inclusive economic recovery in Calderdale. We’re entering a really exciting and ambitious period of bouncing back and securing a brighter and fairer future for local businesses and communities.

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“Our recovery work across Calderdale has recently been boosted by over £370,000 of national Welcome Back funding. We’re developing ways to safely attract local people and visitors back to our towns and villages, in partnership with organisations such as Business Improvement Districts and Town/Parish Councils.

“Local businesses are playing a key role in the Calderdale Inclusive Economy Recovery Plan. We’re assessing the impact of the pandemic on the economy and setting out action plans to accelerate recovery.

“Harnessing the power of our unique culture and heritage is an important part of revitalising our towns. The first milestone of our ambitious 10-year cultural strategy will be the Year of Culture - a major events programme in 2024 to celebrate the borough’s 50th birthday, in line with our Vision2024 for Calderdale.

“This is all about strengthening the economy and our sense of place. Calderdale remains an amazing and distinctive place to live, work and do business.”