In the UK, in 1999, the unemployment rate was lower and levels of vacancies
were higher than they had been for nearly two decades.
Most organisations (83 per cent), however, reported recruitment difficulties
– although the problems were restricted to a few occupational groups.
Only 12 per cent of organisations reported difficulties in recruiting across
two or more out of the five broad occupational groups, consisting of
management, professional/technical, IT, clerical and manual staff. Only 1 per
cent of employers had problems recruiting for all five groups.
Twenty per cent of organisations had difficulty recruiting managers,
considerably less than the 42 per cent which experienced problems recruiting
professional/technical staff. Recruitment difficulties for clerical and manual
employees were less common (10 and 15 per cent, respectively).
The overall impression is that in the UK recruitment difficulties are
widespread but are exaggerated when organisations are looking for specific
professional/technical skills. Only a few organisations had problems attracting
employees for a wide range of occupational groups.
In contrast, the German labour market was characterised by high unemployment
levels and reasonable skills availability.
Respondents from the manufacturing sector are more likely to report
difficulties recruiting managers than those from business services, which may
be related to the pessimistic long-term view of the manufacturing sector.