More than half of the UK’s employers are increasingly recruiting overseas workers to help combat skills shortages – but this is still not enough to beat the ongoing recruitment crisis here.
Figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) show that 85% of employers experienced recruitment difficulties last year, with management vacancies the hardest to fill.
Almost two-fifths of employers recruited staff from abroad to fill vacancies last year, with half of that number increasing the proportion of migrant labour in the last 12 months.
In the public sector, 44% of organisations have recruited overseas staff, and this seems to be paying dividends, with employers in this sector reporting fewer recruitment problems than last year.
Most organisations use migrant workers as part of a long-term strategy, with 76% awarding permanent contracts, compared to just 16% who used staff from abroad to fill seasonal vacancies.
The CIPD believes that migrants are benefiting employers and the economy by helping to fill skills shortages across the workforce.
Recruitment and retention adviser, Rebecca Clake, warned that any fresh legislation to limit immigration could prove damaging. “In the face of such persistent recruitment difficulties, it is not surprising that many employers are looking overseas for new recruits,” she said. “This shows how crucially important it is for the UK eco-nomy that the government does not unduly restrict the supply of labour by limiting immigration.
“If the new rules are set too tightly, employers will be left struggling to function due to a labour shortage,” she added.
Earlier figures from the Home Office found that 40,000 workers from the new EU member states entered the British workforce in the first quarter of 2005, helping to fill key skills gaps.
The government has appointed Lin Homer director general of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) with overall responsibility for managed migration, border control, asylum and citizenship.