More than one-third of UK employers lack the applicants they need for their positions, according to research by Investors in People (IIP).
The survey of 700 IIP organisations shows that nearly a quarter have to wait up to six months on average to fill job vacancies.
Only 18% say it takes less than a month to find the right person for the job so recruitment is becoming an increasingly important business issue.
Nearly nine in 10 (86%) employers say recruitment is a high or very high priority for them over the next 12 months. More than one-third (37%) see it as more of a priority than they did a year ago.
Investors in People UK chief executive, Ruth Spellman, said: “This survey shows that finding the right person for the job is becoming increasingly difficult. Applicants are lacking in both quality and quantity, meaning that ambitious employers are starved of the lifeblood of their business – the people whom they need to progress.
“In these difficult circumstances, employers must do all they can to increase their competitive edge in the recruitment market.
“This means putting people at the heart of their business, analysing both current and prospective requirements and then tenaciously targeting people to fill these needs – both internal and external candidates,” she added.