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Skills shortage hits firms as jobs growth slows to lowest level since September

Published 08/04/2016

Research showed that companies were on the lookout for engineers, accountants, project managers, quantity surveyors, receptionists and sales staff to fill permanent positions
Research showed that companies were on the lookout for engineers, accountants, project managers, quantity surveyors, receptionists and sales staff to fill permanent positions

The shortage of skilled staff is continuing to hit firms, with a raft of workers in demand, ranging from nurses to security guards, according to a new report.

Research by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (Rec) showed that companies were on the lookout for accountants, project managers, quantity surveyors, engineers, receptionists and sales staff to fill permanent positions.

Similar shortages of temporary skilled employees were discovered, including chefs and teachers.

The number of people placed in permanent jobs last month continued to increase, although at a slower pace, while temporary placements increased at the sharpest pace for four months.

The availability of staff to fill vacancies fell in March, especially for permanent posts.

Rec director of policy Tom Hadley said: " Over the last quarter, permanent hiring has continued to grow, but the rate eased in March to the slowest since September 2015. While we expect jobs growth to continue overall, we are now seeing the effects of current uncertainty in the marketplace on UK employment.

"Global economic headwinds plus uncertainty around a possible Brexit make it likely that slower growth in permanent hiring will remain over the next few months as employers take a wait-and-see approach.

"In contrast, temporary hiring is on the up as businesses seek to meet increasing demand while retaining the ability to react quickly to any threats that might be around the corner."

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "We are putting employers in the driving seat so they have the power to develop apprenticeships that meet the skills they need now and in the future.

"Apprenticeships are helping to open the doors for people to get on. Our reforms are helping more and more people into work than ever before."

Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "Major transport infrastructure projects are compromised by a failure to plan for the future in terms of the skilled workforce Britain needs.

"There has been a catastrophic failure in terms of workforce planning, with skilled engineers seen for too long as a group that can be kicked about, downgraded and casualised, with severe consequences for the country as a whole.

"The Government needs to get a grip if we are to address the skills gap in the transport industry."

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