Skills shortages continue despite rising unemployment

HR departments are still reporting skills shortages despite increasing unemployment and a rising numbers of job applications.

A survey of over 350 HR directors by recruitment firm Randstad found that 55% said they were still receiving applications from candidates who lacked key managerial, operations and IT skills.

A further 70% claimed the UK still had a long-term skills problem caused by weak links between the education system and employers.

Fred van der Tang, managing director of Randstad, said: “While head-count reductions are likely to be significant in the coming months, many organisations believe they will still be short of key skills to cope with the recession.”

More than one third of the organisations surveyed had already cut head-count in the past six months, but half expected to make further job cuts in the coming months. One fifth said they would cut more than 10% of their staff.

“There will be an increased emphasis on the provision of training for those with the most potential to make sure that key performers are retained,” van der Tang added.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said that access to the right skills remained a challenge to employers, despite the large numbers of job seekers on the market.

“Short-term employment measures such as those announced recently by the government are clearly needed, but we must not lose sight of the urgent need to focus on future skills needs,” he said.

Last week, the CBI published a report calling for further collaboration between colleges and employers.

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