Recruitment difficulties will continue in first quarter of 2005 as overall levels of employment continue to rise, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Recruitment intentions are lowest in the public sector, reflecting much-flagged efforts to reduce levels of administrative or central government staff in the public sector.
The CIPD’s quarterly survey of HR trends and indicators, showed less than half (45 per cent) of employers expect to recruit a net intake of additional staff in the first quarter.
The numbers of employers blaming planned redundancies on “lack of demand for product or service” (12.9 per cent) or “reduction in budgets” (13.4 per cent) are also higher than in recent quarters.
All this implies a slight slowing of the economy and consequent easing of pressure on the labour market in early 2005, according to survey results.
There is also a marked split between public and private sector recruitment intentions. A quarter of all private sector employers expect to be employing more people in one year’s time.
However, the net figure for public sector employers expecting to employ more staff is zero.
John Philpott, CIPD chief economist, said the tight labour market was creating real difficulties for employers seeking to recruit new employees and retain existing ones.
“With pay restraint seemingly remaining the norm, employers are investing more time and effort in improving recruitment efforts,” he said. “Many are also paying greater attention to work-life balance and family-friendly policies in order to attract new staff, and retain and motivate the existing workforce.”
Other key findings from the survey showed that:
- Only pensions (32 per cent) beat recruitment costs (23 per cent) as the most important factor expected to increase future employment costs for employers
- Lack of specialist skills (66 per cent) and experience (54 per cent) are the main reasons given for recruitment difficulties experienced in the last quarter
- More than 40 per cent of employers had experienced a complete absence of applicants for some vacancies
- The top three responses to ongoing recruitment difficulties are: wider, more focused, or more on-line use of recruitment advertising; appointment of managers with particular responsibility for recruitment; the use of temporary agency workers with a view to converting these to permanent appointments
- Two thirds of employers surveyed supported supported the more family-friendly employment policies being put forward by politicians in the run-up to a general election.