Skills gap persists despite slowdown in jobs market

Employers are still struggling to fill job vacancies because of the UK’s major skills shortage – despite the economic slowdown in the jobs market, a survey has revealed.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) annual Recruitment, Retention and Turnover survey found that 86% of organisations are still having trouble filling vacancies in spite of talk of a slowdown in recruitment activity caused by the credit crunch.

Seven in 10 cited a lack of minimum skills as the main reason for recruitment difficulties and a further 42% reported generally on the insufficient experience of candidates.

Yet only half of companies surveyed have a formal resourcing strategy to counter the problem and many companies are struggling to recruit top talent – instead three-quarters appoint people who don’t have all the skills required, but display potential.

Deborah Fernon, organisation and resourcing adviser at the CIPD said: “From an employer perspective, one of the positive outcomes of a jobs slowdown might have been an easing of recruitment difficulties. But these problems have persisted and there is still a struggle to find and hold on to the right people.

“If bosses want to come out of the downturn with a competitive advantage, they would do well to implement strategies aimed at attracting and retaining the right staff.”

Fernon urged organisations to revise their learning and development strategies to meet business demands.

“First, those employees who have development opportunities are more likely to stay, which reduces turnover. Second, a good learning and development culture will foster a strong employer brand, helping to attract key talent,” she said.

Other findings

  • 75% of employers believe training will help existing employees fill specialist or senior roles
  • 33% say they are losing staff due to a lack of career development opportunities within their organisation.
  • 55% have a formal diversity strategy
  • 83% are monitoring recruitment and/or staffing information

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