P.D. Hook, a hatchery that supplies one third of the chickens sold in the United Kingdom, should be humming along as the economy roars back to life. But the company is short about 40 farm workers, double the usual number of vacancies.
At the same time, there’s a severe deficit of truck drivers, making it difficult for P.D. Hook to transport its birds to the factories where they are cut, portioned and packed. And when the chickens do arrive, there’s a shortage of staff at the processing plants, too.
“It’s all come together at a time when everybody wants more of everything,” said Hook, the company’s managing director. “It’s a perfect storm.”
The troubles aren’t unique to P.D. Hook, its industry or the United Kingdom. Around the world, airlines
can’t fill open jobs, stymieing efforts to capitalize
on resurgent consumer demand. Many workers that went home when the pandemic hit haven’t returned to shipyards, factories or construction sites, hitting production and stalling projects. Even Michelin-starred eateries
and Wall Street banks
say they can’t hire enough people to meet their needs.