Recruitment and retention are the buzzwords as the war for talent continues. So what are managers and trainers doing about it, asks Karen Higginbottom
Yet again research has highlighted the acute challenges facing UK employers when it comes to recruiting skilled staff.
This time, more than 2,500 organisations took part in two major surveys published last week which reveal the depth of the continuing crisis.
The latest Lloyds TSB Commercial Business in Britain survey of more than 2,000 organisations found that over 50 per cent of UK's employers are experiencing difficulties in finding skilled workers (News, 23 January 2001).
The Reed Skills Index (RSI) survey of 550 organisations commissioned by the Reed recruitment agency claimed a higher figure, with 68 per cent of employers struggling to find suitably qualified staff.
The skills crisis is not new, but the question is, what are HR managers and UK training bodies doing to fight back?
The figures are savage. Both surveys show that the Thames Valley is the worst hit region for skills shortages in the UK.
The problem is getting so acute that many desperate IT companies are sharing market intelligence with competitors as a way of tackling recruitment problems.
Karen Price, chief executive of e-skills NTO, confirmed that this is common practice among IT companies in the Thames Valley. "There is a desire to share information. This is one of the ways that employers try to address the skills issue," she said.
The RSI survey also shows that 20 per cent of employers found technical and engineering posts particularly difficult to fill.
Mike Taylor, group divisional director of HR and development for building services engineering company Lorne Stewart, says, "We're suffering from a tremendous skills shortage. During the recession most employers stopped training, which led to a huge shortage in skilled workers."
His company targets school-leavers by offering apprenticeships for mechanical and electrical engineers but he admits recruitment is an uphill struggle.
Lorne Stewart relies on the training initiatives of the Electrical trading Associatio