Employers 'feel the pinch' of skills shortages

More than three quarters of employers have experienced recruitment difficulties in the past year, according to research by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey found that 78% of employers have struggled to bring in talent because of a worsening skills shortage and increased competition for employees.

The research identified the key positions that employers are finding hardest to fill across a number of sectors:

  • managers, professionals and technical staff were the hardest positions to recruit for
  • a lack of technical skills, industry experience and demands for higher pay were the 3 most common reasons for recruitment problems
  • small firms were least likely to struggle hiring staff, with 58% reporting difficulties.

Recruitment partners continue to be an important way for employers to attract talent. The number of employers developing closer ties to recruitment partners has more than doubled to 35% since 2012. However, a third have reduced their use of recruitment partners in the past 3 years.

The survey of 520 HR professionals showed that employers are placing greater emphasis on external recruitment that developing internal talent:

  • 74% are recruiting externally for important positions in the business
  • 45% are developing in-house talent
  • 44% expect to increase their staff in 2015.

Jessica Cooper, research adviser at the CIPD, warned that employers are "increasingly feeling the pinch" and advised businesses to focus on developing internal talent:

"In the 'make or buy' debate, the 'buy' decision still seems to predominate investment in talent, but hiring new talent is just part of the solution for addressing skills shortages. Once people are in a role, they still require ongoing development to achieve their full potential and meet ever-changing and critical skills needs.

"Organisations also need to consider how they can align recruitment activity with an increased focus on internal talent development, in order to build skilled workforces that can easily flex to fulfil future skills needs."

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