From education to employment

Companies struggling to hire right calibre of staff

A quarter of business in the UK are struggling to find the right calibre of staff even though around 2.4 million are currently out of work, according to a recent survey by the People 1st Training Company.

“Businesses are recruiting again which should offer great encouragement to the labour market, however there is a worrying trend that although companies are hiring they are struggling to find the right calibre of staff,” warns Carmen Watson, managing director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership.

“Hiring the right staff is vital to any organisation and failure to do this can cost a company dearly.”

The economic downturn, coupled with public sector cuts and mounting employment regulation, such as the recently introduced Equality of Duty rules, has made compliance a complex issue for employers.

And with youth unemployment at 963,000 many experts are also pointing to an ever widening skills gap.

To help combat this, the government has announced a bolstered skills agenda that includes extra funding for a further 40,000 Apprenticeships for young people.

However, Ms Watson believes more needs to be done to stem youth unemployment, which is at an all time high.

“A critical area appears to be 16-24 years olds where we have seen an alarmingly high unemployment rate so far this year,” she continued.

“We are clearly not offering this age group enough training and support and, in my opinion, many are not being offered training at all. This is an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and we need to be asking companies to seriously look at how we can support an age group that are failing to get jobs.”

The government will launch its ambitious Work Programme in June, which is hoped will transform the lives of millions of people on long terms benefits.

But it remains to be seen whether it will bring to an end a persistent unemployment problem that has defeated previous administrations of all persuasions.

Susannah Fairbairn

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