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27 July 2021

New Labour Market Insights report finds buoyant labour market and serious labour shortages in Dorset

People sitting at picnic tables eating fast food at West Bay in Dorset, UK

After more than a year of continuous pandemic doom and gloom, the second quarter of 2021 saw the summer arriving in Dorset, most of the economy opening up, and an important milestone of 1million vaccines reached, while football success brought a fresh sense of optimism across the county. 
And while it didn’t quite come home, nearly half a million visitors did - in a single weekend in July. 

The latest round of insights released by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) shows a buoyant labour market with an exponential growth in vacancies across all sectors, and noted decline in furlough and youth unemployment, but also widely reported labour shortages. 
June was the sixth consecutive month of vacancy growth in Dorset with the number of jobs advertised over the first half of the year reaching almost 37,000 with over 20,000 of these posted over the second Quarter. 

The level of vacancies in Quarter 2 significantly exceeded both previous years, marking a 27% increase on Quarter 1, and reached highs last seen in 2018. While the largest number of vacancies were advertised in the urban centres of Bournemouth and Poole, growth in opportunities existed across the county and trends across localities were returning to “normal”. The report also reveals local projects that will potentially create further job openings in the future.

The report draws comparisons between the number of jobs posted in Dorset’s top industries this year and those advertised over the same period in 2020 when the first wave of the pandemic hit, with striking differences.  Labour demand soared across all industries in Dorset in Quarter 2 of this year with tourism and hospitality, agriculture and construction recording the greatest growth. Vacancies grew 14 times in tourism and hospitality and long-term occupational developments show the demand for Hospitality, Food and Tourism workers over the second Quarter was the highest on record in the past decade.

These figures also highlight the bumpy ride experienced by these sectors. While the growth in demand is a welcome news for all those whose jobs were displaced, both media and anecdotal reports suggest increasing proportion of businesses experience recruitment difficulties as lack of applicants and skills gaps are endangering their recovery at a critical time, including local reports of venues being forced into temporary closures.

The report explores some of the reasons behind the recruitment difficulties, including post-Brexit migration shifts, furlough hangover and rise in temporary and precarious jobs and outlines the response across governmental departments and local programmes. The issue also highlights the pandemic impact on social mobility and inequalities, the future of learning and career advice and features deeper insights into the Tourism and Hospitality sector and the rise in Green jobs.

Launching the report, Dorset LEP’s Head of Enterprise, Skills & Industry Rebecca Davies said: “I am delighted to welcome you to the Quarter 2 Labour Market Insight report on behalf of Dorset LEP and the Dorset Skills Advisory Panel and Board. It is a thought provoking read and provides some much-needed optimism that we need to capitalise on to be able to tackle some of the workforce and social challenges highlighted.

“At Dorset LEP we pride ourselves in developing and offering a set of labour market intelligence tools that are among the most comprehensive nationally and this report clearly shows why this is a critical resource on our way to recovery. It offers a fascinating local snapshot of the extraordinary times that we live in, and a go-to source informing local decisions across a wide range of stakeholders including policy makers, educators, employers and local residents of Dorset.” 

Find the latest labour market insights on the Dorset LEP LMI webpage 

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