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Claire Savage


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Business positive about L&D


Despite soaring unemployment, there are real learning and development opportunities for those already in work, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

In the week jobless figures reached a 12-year-high to 2.26m, the CIPD said 73% of employers still find it hard to get the skills they need.

According to its Recruitment, Retention and Turnover survey organisations are turning to staff development and retention, rather than recruitment, to secure the skills they need.

Findings show that a majority of organisations (56%) are focussing on retaining rather than recruiting talent, with ‘additional training to allow internal staff to fill posts’ being the most effective recruitment initiative (75%). Similarly, ‘offering increased learning and development opportunities’ (47%) is the most favoured action to address retention.

Where recruitment is still required, recruiters are paying attention to the long term, choosing to appoint ‘people who have the potential to grow but who currently do not have all that is required for the job role’ as their most frequently used initiative (74%).

Jill Miller, Resourcing and Talent Planning Researcher, CIPD said: “It’s encouraging to see that employers have their eye on the long term in their recruitment strategies. “This environment offers real opportunities for ambitious and motivated employees to secure learning and career progression opportunities that might have been more difficult to come by when firms were recruiting more regularly.”

Despite the strong signs from respondents of a re-focus on retention combined with effective training to combat the skills shortage, only a quarter (25%) rate Train To Gain, the national skills service to support employers, as good or very good. The same number rate Business Link, the government organisation that provides practical advice for organisations, as effective in supporting their organisations’ needs.

Employers pointing the finger at a lack of efficient government support on training, however, is only half of the story. Only 58% of employers report having a formal resourcing strategy, meaning that recruitment and retention programmes are not in many cases aligned to business strategy.

Gerwyn Davies, Public Policy Adviser, CIPD, said: “It’s worrying that only half of respondents have a formal resourcing strategy, putting a question mark over whether tailored learning and development is equipping employees with the necessary business-critical skills for survival.

“Steps by the government to make the training offered through Train To Gain more employer-led and to simplify the process are welcome, but employers will only be in a position to offer the right training when key skills/development needs are highlighted through a formal resourcing strategy aligned to business objectives. Only then will real business impact and increased retention – as employees feel that they are being efficiently developed – be experienced.”

The CIPD said that the ‘retention rather than recruitment’ trend was negatively affecting government initiatives to get the unemployed and disadvantaged groups back into work. For example, only one in ten organisations have signed up to a Local Employment Partnership, while only 20% think JobCentre Plus is good or very good at meeting their organisation’s resourcing needs.

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Claire Savage

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