Rather than offer higher wages, employers are opting to invest in the learning and development of their staff to hang on to talent, and are increasingly turning to migrant labour to fill vacancies, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The balance of employers expecting to employ more staff by autumn 2005 over those expecting to employ fewer staff is the lowest recorded in the CIPD’s Human Resources Quarterly Trends and Indicators surveys in 2004.
However, the balance is still positive, with 17 per cent more companies planning to employ more staff than those who expect to cut back on recruitment.
The survey also shows that recruitment difficulties and skills shortages are sending employers overseas in their hunt for talent
Almost one in three employers (28 per cent) is planning to recruit workers from overseas this autumn; among larger companies (more than 500 employees), this figure rises to 40 per cent.
Recruitment from abroad varies from region to region – in London, 45 per cent of employers intend to recruit from abroad, compared to only 13 per cent in the North East.
CIPD chief economist John Philpott said the findings would put the heated political debate about immigration into perspective. He said that if rules were tightened in an arbitrary way, employers across business and government could suffer.
“It is interesting to note that the majority of employers are using migrant labour to fill vacancies requiring professional and technical skills, and are offering permanent contracts – against a common perception of low-skill, low-paid and casual jobs for migrant workers,” he said.