'Do people just not want to work?' - Sheffield boss despairs over struggle to fill vacancies

HS Direct's Sheffield headquarters in Meadowhall
HS Direct's Sheffield headquarters in Meadowhall
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A businessman in Sheffield has questioned the city's work ethic after struggling to fill a number of vacancies.

Nick Murphy, managing director of HS Direct, whose head office is in Meadowhall, spoke out after being unable to recruit staff for five roles which he says require minimum experience and pay up to £27,000 a year.

Nick Murphy, managing director at HS Direct in Sheffield

Nick Murphy, managing director at HS Direct in Sheffield

He says he 'despairs' over the number of people who fail to turn up for interviews, and wonders whether people really want to work or prefer to rely on benefits.

"It's bizarre how there seem to be so many people in the city who don't have a job yet don't even turn up when they get the chance of an interview," he said.

"The roles we're advertising don't require a great deal of experience, because we're happy to train people, and they can be pretty well paid if you do a good job. You would expect to have hundreds of applicants.

"You almost despair. Do people just not want to work? Is the stay at home on benefits culture really that appealing?

"As a person who has worked continuously since 1978, I find it both frustrating and disappointing that the strong work ethic that built this great city seems to be disappearing."

The roles being advertised are in customer service and sales, with a basic salary of £15,600 rising to as much as £27,000 with commission.

The health and safety firm has about 60 employees at its Sheffield headquarters, and a further 25 split between its offices in Manchester and Suffolk.

Mr Murphy says it is not just his company which is struggling to recruit staff, as he has spoken to other business leaders in Sheffield who are experiencing similar problems.

He believes there may be a north-south divide when it comes to the desire to work, with the company finding it easier to recruit staff at its Suffolk office than at those in Sheffield and Manchester.

"I think, from our experience, that people are a bit more inclined to work the further south you go," he said.

"Most companies in this city have room for more staff and I think if they wanted to everyone in Sheffield could be working."

There are 9,305 people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Sheffield, which is 2.5 per cent of the working age population, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The roles at HS Direct are advertised on the company's website, as well as being listed on various online recruitment sites.