Hertfordshire’s labour market will be put under strain to deal with sudden peaks in demand as the economy recovers, according to a key review into the county’s skills and labour market by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Hertfordshire Skills and Labour Market Review 2014 finds that despite Hertfordshire’s workforce continuing to grow there is likely to be continued pressure to fill new jobs, replace those who retire and compete against external demand from London and neighbouring counties.

After a relatively slow growth, salaries are now picking up but Hertfordshire still struggles to compete with the higher salaries offered by employers in the capital and neighbouring counties.

Other key findings of the report, which is expected to be reviewed on an annual basis, include:

Nearly one-third of Hertfordshire’s skilled workforce commute to work outside of the county, largely due to its proximity to London.Hertfordshire has one of the highest employment rates in England at 77.7 per cent, and the third highest rate of all 39 LEP areas in England. Hertfordshire has the eighth highest rate of employment in highly skilled jobs of all 39 LEP areas. A large share of Hertfordshire’s jobs are highly skilled, with a higher-than-average percentage of people working in the most highly-skilled professions and a lower-than-average percentage of people working in the lowest-skilled occupations.Employers in Hertfordshire reported that 31.1 per cent of all of their vacancies were hard to fill with professional jobs being the highest rate of hard-to-fill vacancies in the county – markedly above the national average.

The report concludes: “In theory, Hertfordshire’s available workforce should be able to satisfy the needs of its economy. However, Hertfordshire is in an open labour market, with a high propensity to commute amongst its workforce, and so there is significant external demand placed on workers resident in the county.

“There also seems to be little available additional labour capacity from the resident workforce – as participation rates are high and unemployment is low.”

Norman Jennings, Hertfordshire LEP’s Skills and Employment Manager, said: “The review will enable the LEP and its partners to understand the key issues facing the county and allow us to focus our efforts into addressing them.”

The review, which is expected to be updated annually, will help determine the allocation of European Social Funds (ESF) for the county over the next 5-6 years and will support the implementation of the Skills Strategy for Hertfordshire, due to be launched this spring.

To read the review in full, click here.