Security concerns lengthen hiring process

Heightened
concern for security has had an impact on the recruitment process for nearly
three in five UK companies, a survey finds.

A
poll conducted by search and recruitment group MRI Worldwide (MRIWW) reveals
that of these employers, 40 per cent say security concerns have increased the
length of the hiring process. 

Another
12.7 per cent have increased the length or detail of background checks on
prospective employees, and 4.2 per cent report difficulty in securing work
visas for foreign job candidates.

Despite
the impact of security concerns, the remainder of the year should see increased
hiring for the mid-to-upper management and professional sector of the workforce
in the UK. 

Of
the 75 companies surveyed, 31 per cent indicate plans to make additions to
their staff during the second half of 2003. Another 54.1 per cent plan to
maintain their current staff sizes, and 14.9 per cent expect to decrease staff
numbers.

Steve
Mills, managing director of MRI Worldwide said: "The number of companies
planning to make new hires, combined with those that plan to maintain their
current staff sizes, indicates a certain degree of confidence in their business
prospects for the remainder of the year.

"We’re
hearing, for example, that in spite of the still struggling economy, some of
our clients are expanding their businesses by developing new markets and
launching new products – activities that stimulate hiring."

Asked
when they anticipated a sustainable economic recovery, 41.9 per cent responded
that they believe this will occur within a year. Their responses were based
upon their observations of current conditions in their industries.

By Ben Willmott

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