HR should stop worrying about recruitment and retention and start concentrating on developing the employees its company already has.
That is the finding of the annual Employment Trends Survey by the CBI and HR consultancy William M Mercer.
Mark Edelsten, European partner at William M Mercer, said HR is focusing too narrowly on attracting and retaining talent when what business is really worried about is skills.
The survey of CBI members, which covers 829 companies and 2 million employees, found that by far the biggest concern was the skills of managers and the workforce.
This was cited by 60 per cent of respondents as the main factor affecting their present and future competitiveness.
"HR people are buried in the operational stuff about getting people in through the door," said Edelsten.
"What the survey is saying is that they need to be worrying about something bigger. That is developing people and structures. It is what we do with people once they are through the door that is the real issue."
HR should be concentrating on developing staff, improving communication in the organisation and creating structures to support good decision making, he said.
Companies were asked to rate the influence of 12 factors on their present and future competitiveness.
High levels of management skills came out as the top influence on future competitiveness, cited by 60 per cent of respondents. This was closely followed by high level of workforce skills at 55 per cent.
Copies of the Employment Trends Survey are available from the CBI priced £20 to members and £50 to non-members. Call 020-7395 8071.