Recruitment and retention problems mount

Recruitment
pressures have increased considerably during the past year, despite the
economic slowdown and wave of redundancies. 

The
latest survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD),
shows that the problem exists across all sectors and regions with 93 per cent
of the 557 organisations surveyed experiencing difficulties.

The
survey confirms the trend of the ‘3Rs effect’ – where mass redundancy co-exists
alongside recruitment and retention difficulties.

The
three main causes of the problem include a lack of specialist skills, poor
quality applicants and pay inflexibility, all of which are particularly acute
in the public sector. The cost of living is also cited as a major reason – in
London and the South East in particular.

Meanwhile,
the number of organisations reporting retention difficulties has jumped even
more markedly in the past year from 50 per cent to 72 per cent. 

Retaining
public sector staff (84 per cent of public sector organisations report
problems) and administrative staff offer the biggest retention challenges.

Again,
more organisations in London report retention difficulties than in any other UK
region.

Angela
Baron, CIPD adviser on employee resourcing and the survey’s co-ordinator said:
"Recruiting and retaining staff remains HR’s biggest challenge in spite of
the economic downturn.

"While
some may see this as surprising, a combination of low unemployment and a
massive expansion in public sector recruitment has meant staff at all levels,
in all sectors and in all regions are difficult to recruit and retain.

"The
problems are particularly acute in the public sector where the demand for
trained specialist staff currently exceeds supply. However, this should even
itself out over time as more trained staff come on stream."

Recruitment
and retention problems have led to key changes in recruitment procedures and
trends in the UK.  These include:


Recruiters are now more prepared to train new recruits and lower the level of
experience required owing to the dramatic increase in the number of
organisations that have failed to receive any applications in the past year


The number of organisations that appoint people with potential, but who do not
currently satisfy the requirements, has grown to 70 per cent


59 per cent of public sector organisations find it difficult to recruit
professionally qualified staff


Training and development remains the biggest retention tool for organisations
(58 per cent).  While the use of
coaching and mentoring systems has increased sharply, the number of
organisations that have increased pay to retain staff has dropped


Meanwhile, 37 per cent of organisations have improved their starting salaries
to recruit staff.


Public service organisations put greater emphasis on work-life balance measures
to retain staff.  Half offer flexible
working hours compared with just a quarter of manufacturing and production
organisations, for instance. Half of not-for-profit and public service
organisations offer both family-friendly and work-life balance provisions
beyond the legal minimum


74 per cent of organisations monitor their findings from exit interviews and 59
per cent from staff opinions through attitude surveys. However, only 28 per
cent of organisations monitor the financial cost of replacing leavers.


Organisations feel that pay inflexibility has led to almost half of
organisations losing candidates. 
Unsurprisingly, the public sector is the biggest loser with 61 per cent
of public sector organisations seeing this as a major issue. 

By Ben Willmott

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