(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Warehouses in Britain are having to pay up to 30% more to recruit staff after a chronic shortage of workers exacerbated pressure on already buckling supply chains and threatened to derail the run up to Black Friday and Christmas.
The warehouse trade group and a recruitment agency for the sector said they were struggling to replace the European staff who used to arrive for the festive period and work in warehouses and distribution centres.
Clare Bottle, CEO of the UK Warehousing Association, said her members had reported having to increase pay by between 20% and 30% to secure workers for entry level jobs.
With around 200,000 people working in warehousing, she said:“The problem is big. I would say we're tens of thousands short.”
Jordan Francis, commercial director of the Prodrive recruitment agency which supplies around 35 warehouse companies in southern England, said he already had around 100 vacancies he was struggling to fill.
He is offering a 25% increase in pay for a standard warehouse operative role.
While he can secure more workers at that rate, he said the higher pay meant workers were less willing to do overtime.
“We've never seen a market like this,” he said, adding that his former European workers had opted to go to France or Germany, where they do not need visas.
The shortages in Britain's logistics network come on top of a spike in European natural gas prices and a post-Brexit and Covid shortage of truck drivers that has left the world's fifth-largest economy reeling.
“I can't honestly think of a time in the last 20 years when labour intense UK industries have faced a problem like this,” said one senior executive of a major British retailer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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