CIPD Survey Shows Severe Skills Shortages

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The CIPD said it expects skills shortages and tough recruitment conditions to continue despite the recent rise in unemployment figures.

The comments came as the CIPD's own survey showed that 40% of employers claimed to find it hard to recruit staff with the specialist skills they needed.

John Philpott, Chief Economist at the CIPD called the 30,000 rise in unemployed "puzzling", but added that this was likely to be due to changes in the manufacturing industry.

"A big drop in manufacturing employment, allied to an equally sharp improvement in manufacturing productivity, indicates that manufacturing employers are determined to become more efficient in the face of ever-tougher competition as world trade starts to expand," he said.

"But at the same time an increase in overall job vacancies, a further rise in the underlying rate of earnings growth and higher numbers of economically inactive people point to a tighter labour market in which employers in other sectors are finding it ever more difficult to realise their strongly positive recruitment intentions," he said.

Drawing on a CIPD survey to be released at the end of July, Mr Philpott added that employers were still finding it hard to recruit workers with the skills they needed.

The CIPD's second quarterly HR Trends and Indicators survey, found that:

* More than 4 out of 5 employers (81%) responding to the survey intend to recruit staff this summer (June-August 2004).

* Over 40% found lack of specialist skills required was one of the main causes of recruitment difficulties while lack of experience and applicants wanting more pay were also common reasons given.

* 40% of respondents expect to be employing more staff by the summer of 2005 against 17% expecting to employ fewer: a positive balance of 23 per cent, up from 19% in the spring quarter survey.

* Almost half of respondents anticipate recruitment difficulties over the summer months and a third expect retention difficulties.

* More than a fifth of respondents reported having no applicants for vacancies.

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