Employers face headache to fill key roles as 3 in 4 report recruitment difficulties

Organisations are experiencing both escalating skills shortages and increased competition for talent, with 3 in 4 organisations reporting recruitment difficulties in the last year, according to the latest CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey. The survey, launched today at the CIPD’s annual HR Software Show and Recruitment exhibition, shows that many organisations are having to look externally to meet the changing skills needed in-house. However, the CIPD is warning that equal attention needs to be given to the development of internal staff, in order to build a skilled and sustainable workforce in the long-term.

The survey of 520 UK-based HR professionals, which examines resourcing and talent planning strategies across private, public and voluntary sector organisations, found that while nearly half of respondents are making efforts to develop more talent in-house, almost three-quarters continue to recruit externally for key talent/niche areas. In fact, 44 per cent of organisations anticipate an increase in headcount in 2015.

Managers, specialists and technical staff are proving to be the most difficult vacancies to fill, followed by senior managers / directors. The most common reasons for recruitment difficulties varied by role, but a lack of specialist skills and industry or general experience were the most common. A fifth of those who have difficulty recruiting administrative or manual workers report that pay is the key challenge.

With hiring externally becoming increasingly difficult, and two thirds of organisations agreeing that the skills needed for jobs in their organisation are changing, it’s clear that employers face significant talent management challenges ahead. To address the skills gap, 44 per cent of organisations anticipate an increase in headcount in 2015. This is reflected by an increase in resourcing budgets, which have risen for over a third of respondents compared to just 8 per cent of organisations in 2012 and 2013. In contrast though, the majority of organisations said that their talent management spend has remained the same, prompting the CIPD to recommend that, alongside resourcing strategies, organisations need to invest more in developing internal talent, with a forward-focused view on how their skill requirements may develop in coming years.

Jessica Cooper, Research Adviser at the CIPD, said: “Organisations are increasingly feeling the pinch when it comes to sourcing key but scarce skills. In the ‘make or buy’ debate, the ‘buy’ decision still seems to predominate investment in talent, but hiring new talent is just part of the solution for addressing skills shortages. Once people are in a role, they still require ongoing development to achieve their full potential and meet ever-changing and critical skills needs. Organisations also need to consider how they can align recruitment activity with an increased focus on internal talent development, in order to build skilled workforces that can easily flex to fulfil future skills needs.”

Where organisations are looking to increase their headcount, the survey found that recruitment partners continue to form an essential link between businesses and the quality candidates they want. Twice as many organisations as in previous years are reporting that they have formed a closer partnership with their recruitment partners and consider them integral to attracting top talent, while only a third of respondents have reduced their use of a recruitment partner over the last 12 months. Given the need for strong candidates, a third of organisations said that they are putting more effort into the quality of individuals being hired and four-fifths of organisations had made efforts to improve their employer brand as part of their efforts to attract key talent.