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Lack of skills major factor in UK recruitment and retention difficulties


The vast majority of British organisations (86%) are still having trouble filling vacancies in spite of talk of an economic slowdown, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD).

The findings, in its annual Recruitment, Retention and Turnover Survey, show that employers are placing the blame firmly on the UK’s skills gap.

UK business is feeling the widespread effects of a ‘skills crunch’, it says, with the talent shortage so severe that even a credit crunch inspired increase in the supply of labour may not be enough to alleviate difficulties: 70% cited a lack of necessary candidate skills as the main reason for recruitment difficulties and a further 42% reported generally on the insufficient experience of candidates.

Yet only half of companies surveyed have a formal resourcing strategy to counter the problem and many companies are struggling to recruit top talent, instead appointing people who currently don’t have all the skills required, but display potential. Three quarters of organisations use this method, with 65% considering it to have the most positive effect on recruitment.

However, 75% deem the provision of additional training to allow internal staff to fill posts as the most effective solution to recruitment difficulties. Despite this, less than half of respondents use learning and development strategies to address retention with a further third saying that they are losing staff due to a lack of career development opportunities within their organisation.

Deborah Fernon, organisation and resourcing adviser, CIPD says: “From an employers’ perspective, one of the positive outcomes of a jobs slowdown might have been an easing of recruitment difficulties. But these problems have persisted and there is still a struggle to find and hold on to the right people. If bosses want to come out of the downturn with a competitive advantage, they would do well to implement strategies aimed at attracting and retaining the right staff.

“Organisations should also have a look at their learning and development strategies, which can help meet business demands in two ways. Firstly, those employers who have development opportunities are more likely to stay, which reduces turnover. Secondly, a good learning and development culture will foster a strong employer brand, helping to attract key talent.”

The findings show that employers are also not doing enough to tap into the advantages of a diverse workforce. Overall, just over half of those organisations surveyed have a formal diversity strategy (55%). Yet there is hope for the future, with the vast majority of companies beginning to realise the benefits of a strong, diverse workforce: 83% are monitoring recruitment and/or staffing information, a sizeable increase this year from 71% in 2007.

Click here to read our feature Boom or bust: Is the training indutry in crisis?


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