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Skills shortages in London a major problem


A survey of London employers conducted by FOCUS, the TEC for Central London, finds that one in three employers are finding job vacancies difficult to fill.

The Central London Jobs and Skills Review, which is carried out every two years, details employment and skills trends in London and is based on interviews with 1,200 London employers. Of these, a third reported problems with finding suitably skilled applicants to fill vacancies, with the construction sector having the greatest problems - over half of employers in this sector who were interviewed said they had problems with recruiting staff. The hospitality and creative sectors lead employment growth in the city.

One in eight employers also identified key skills gaps in their existing workforce, particularly among clerical and secretarial staff, although an average of 37% of employees received some form of training in Summer 2000. Another key issue for HR departments in London to grapple with is restructuring, with one in eight companies having been subject to a merger, takeover or major reorganisation in the last year. Companies in the finance sector or those based overseas are the most likely to have undergone re-organisation in the last 12 months.

Mike Fenton, Head of Research, FOCUS commented: 'The report shows an increased pattern of change within organisations. This change needs to be managed to ensure that staff are productive and can develop within new structures. We are no longer in an environment where companies compete for staff on money alone. Employees are increasingly looking to work for a good salary within an organisation which looks after their staff by providing them with quality support and training. Organisations needing to compete in this fast-changing business environment must look to retain and develop their existing staff otherwise they will soon loose them and as the report shows finding skilled staff to replace them is not always easy.'

To receive a copy of the report, telephone 020 7896 8484.


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