LONDON (Reuters) – Halfords is aiming to recruit 1,000 new technicians over the next 12 months by attracting retirees to work in its car repair centres, as Britain’s tight labour market drives employers to think up new hiring strategies.
Companies in Britain are struggling to recruit staff. The country’s unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 1974 in October at the same time as the number of people leaving the workforce has risen.
People taking early retirement plus the impact of lower migration levels after Britain left the European Union, has depleted the workforce, adding to inflation pressures which are already hurting the economy.
Halfords, which sells motoring and cycling services and products, said on Wednesday it would target people who had left the workforce in the last few years but could now be considering a return as high inflation causes a cost-of-living crisis.
“We need to be ambitious and creative in the way we go about meeting the demand for technicians,” Halfords Chief Executive Graham Stapleton said in a statement.
“We want to give people the best possible route to return to work.”
Compared to 2019, Britain had 600,000 more people this year who were not participating in the jobs market. Hospitality and retail are amongst the sectors that can’t fill roles despite wages rising.
By offering more flexible working, including part-time hours, and apprenticeships to older people, plus opening a training academy, Halfords hopes it will be able to recruit retirees.
The group also wants to encourage more women to train to repair cars.
Operating from over 600 garages across Britain, Halfords is the largest provider of motoring services and it expects demand for vehicle servicing, maintenance and annual MOT tests on cars to increase because the country’s car fleet is ageing.
Halfords also reported results on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Sarah Young, editing by Paul Sandle)