…in brief

This week’s news in brief

Firms suffer skills gap

Almost three out of five firms in the UK and Ireland are suffering from
skills shortages, research published last week revealed. The Reed Skills Index
survey discovered that 58 per cent of the organisations questioned were finding
it hard to recruit suitably experienced staff. Companies in Scotland were the
hardest hit, with 70 per cent having problems filling posts.

Laying foundation

Lifelong Learning and Higher Education Minister Margaret Hodge has launched
a national advertising campaign to encourage students and employers to sign up
for the new two-year foundation degree, due to start this autumn. The
work-based degree has been developed with employers, and will help businesses
fill job vacancies and develop existing staff.  www.foundationdegree.org.uk

Buy-out value rises

The value of management buy-outs completed in the first six months of this
year increased by more than half as much as the same period for 2000. The value
of the buy-out market was £13.5bn – 56 per cent higher than the same period in
2000. UK merger and acquisition activity has fallen by 71 per cent, according
to research carried out by Barclays Private Equity and Deloitte & Touche
Corporate Finance.

Call for wages link

The minimum wage should be linked to average earnings to prevent it falling
behind the rise of salaries. This is the view of research body Catalyst, which
has published a paper by Kingston University lecturer Sanjiv Sachdev that
argues Britain should adopt a model used by France that ensures the minimum
wage does not lose its value.  www.catalyst.co.uk

Working time check

Managers working in the transport industry can find out how the Working Time
Directive will affect their business at a conference organised by Motor
Transport and sponsored by Driving Power. The conference is on 25 October in
Birmingham. For details, contact 020 8652 8583.

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