HR · 3 December 2018

Unemployed single parents could solve skills shortages at small UK businesses

Should employers think more broadly over who they should employ?

New research has found that single parents have a higher unemployment rate than any other major UK talent pool, and businesses have been urged to tap into the group to solve skills shortages.

It found that one in ten economically active single parents are currently unemployed, two-and-a-half times the unemployment rate for Britons as a whole at 4% and higher than all other major pools of untapped talent.

Job site Indeed said there are 2.8 million single-parent households in the UK with 180,000 single parents currently out of work and looking for a job. A further 315,000 are out of the job market while looking after their families but could potentially return to work in the future, adding to the tappable talent available.

Despite the UK enjoying a historic high of 32.4 million people in work, Indeed said employers still need to fill 845,000 vacancies.

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Other talent pools that current employers may consider attracting include people with disabilities, 8.4% of whom are unemployed, and those from minority backgrounds at 6.3%.

“Low unemployment and falling numbers of European workers mean that no employer can afford to overlook people still available for work in today’s competitive labour market,” said Pawel Adrjan, economist at global job site Indeed.

“Single parents are less likely than the overall population to participate in the workforce. When they do, they are more likely to be unemployed than many other demographics, suggesting that they struggle more to find a job than others

“The tightness of the labour market has led employers to think broadly about whom they can recruit. Many are actively targeting new demographics by introducing incentives like flexible working hours and the ability to work from home – which more and more jobseekers are searching for.

“It is encouraging to see that employment rates have improved for single parents and people with disabilities and ethnic minority backgrounds in recent years. Yet there is still much more that can be done.”

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