Skills shortages are set to intensify in both manufacturing and services,
the latest Recruitment Confidence Index shows.
The quarterly index shows a healthy positive balance of firms expecting
employment growth. The difference is most marked in services, with more than
half set to recruit and only one in seven looking to lose labour.
In manufacturing there was a lower positive balance of 39 per cent planning
to recruit and 25 per cent expecting job losses, according to the survey,
produced by Cranfield School of Management in association with recruitment
agency TMP Worldwide and The Daily Telegraph.
The figures show that, despite the high-profile job losses at the Rover and
Ford car plants, the move towards full employment is continuing.
"There is a significant demand for traditional managerial and
professional roles in high-tech manufacturing," said Chris Hermannsen, UK
managing director for TMP Executive Resourcing.
In the wider "war for talent" both manufacturing and traditional
services are struggling to retain IT professionals, top finance people and
lawyers from the lure of dotcom start-ups.
"Competitive packages with stock options, generous holidays or golden
hellos are not unusual," said Nick Hill, recruitment sales manager at The
The study shows that "new" manufacturers such as components
suppliers to the high-tech industry, are booming, in contrast to the struggles
faced by "old" manufacturing in cars, steel and shipbuilding.
The strength of the pound has hammered exports of some goods, but makes
imported raw materials cheap. The pound is expected to rise further spurred by
the freeze in base interest rates announced last Thursday.
"Larger manufacturing organisations are struggling," said
assistant director of the CBI North West Damian Waters. "That is where we
see headline redundancies. But smaller, more flexible manufacturers can respond
quite quickly to the change in the economy – that is where we see vacancies
Quick-fix HR expertise required
The co-publisher of the RCI Index said there is exceptional demand for
"grey-haired" personnel experts to set up systems in new start-up
firms which then proceed without a conventional HR department.
"There is a school of thought that good HR people do themselves out of
a role," said Steven French, director for HR recruitment, TMP Worldwide
"Management of people is becoming an integral part of every manager’s
role. This is reflected in the number of temporary personnel posts, where
someone comes in, sets up procedures and then goes away."
Under this arrangement line managers gain access to HR advice via an advice
service from an internal service centre or outsourced provider.