War for talent returns in U.K.

Three-quarters of employers cite increase in unsuitable candidates: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/15/2011

Employers in the United Kingdom arebeing inundated with unsuitable candidates and struggling to fill vacancieswhile talented individuals are staying put, according to the annual Resourcing and Talent Planning report bythe Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), in partnershipwith Hays.

Three-quarters (73 per cent) of organizations highlighted an increase in thenumber of unsuitable candidates for job vacancies, fuelled by high levels ofunemployment. However, 52 per cent of the 626 employers surveyed believe competitionfor talent is even greater, compared to 41 per cent and 20 per cent in 2010 and2009 respectively.

This year, 75 per cent of organizations experienced recruitment difficulties.As in previous years, the main reason is a lack of necessary specialist ortechnical skills (72 per cent compared to 67 per cent in 2010), with managers orprofessionals and technical positions the most difficult to fill.

"High levels of unemploymenthave boosted quantity but employers are still struggling with quality.Headlines focus on high levels of unemployment but those stark statistics maskan ongoing struggle for employers to find the skills and experience they needto drive their businesses forward. Shortages of specialist and technical skillsrun the risk of slamming an unwelcome brake on the long-term competitiveness ofthe U.K. economy,” said Claire McCartney, resourcing and talent planning adviserat CIPD.

One contributing factor to the talent shortage is those who are in work arereluctant to leave in a volatile market, said CIPD. The median turnover ratehas remained consistently low throughout the recession and beyond (2011: 12.5per cent; 2010: 13.5 per cent; 2009: 15.7 per cent; 2008:17.3 per cent).

The rate of voluntary leavers hasincreased slightly in the private sector (8.7 per cent in 2011 compared to 7.4per cent in 2010) but decreased in the voluntary (seven per cent per cent in2011 compared to 10.2 per cent in 2010) and public sector services (3.4 percent in 2011 compared to 5.8 per cent in 2010).

"Skills shortages are undoubtedly being exacerbated by 'grass is greeneron this side of the fence' syndrome. Free movement of talented individuals isbeing impeded by a reluctance to voluntarily change jobs in volatile economictimes — and the problem is worse now than it was at the height of therecession,” said McCartney. “With more cuts in the public sector expected andonly marginal private sector growth, we expect a continued 'safety first'approach from employees, with many wanting to stay put for the next couple ofyears at least, making it difficult for employers to really drive competitiveedge through the recruitment of talented individuals."

Four in 10 (39 per cent) employers also cite increased tuition fees as aconcern. Respondents are worried this will affect the number of graduatescoming into the labour market, affecting their access to yet another talentpool.

"The rate of youth unemployment continues to soar but employers are stillcomplaining about the lack of talent on the market. It's crucial for organizationsto communicate not only what skills they need now and in the future but alsoreally sell themselves as an employer of choice in order to secure their talentpipeline in years to come,” said Julie Waddicor, managing director of HaysHuman Resources. “Equally, with university fees increasing, there is a realneed for more to be done to encourage businesses to take on apprentices andintroduce other initiatives to help young people gain experience in theworkplace. Only then will U.K. organizations really succeed in closing theskills gap."

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