Three-quarters of recruiting firms said there was a lack of applicants with the necessary skills or experience, the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) said. More than half those surveyed said they were unable to match market pay rates, saying applicants wanted more money than was on offer.
Professional posts were the hardest to fill with half of employers reporting problems, followed by a quarter of IT companies and one in five engineers. Almost a third of employers said they had not received one application for a post they had advertised. Overall, 72 per cent of employers reported recruitment problems, compared with 60 per cent a year ago.
Angela Baron, IPD policy adviser, said employers would have to increase the benefits to attract high-calibre staff.
Last week statistics showed that average earnings rose to 4.8 per cent. The Bank of England has said that any figure above 4.5 per cent could threaten inflation. The data showed the number of people in employment had hit an all-time high.
The IPD survey was based on interviews with 269 recruiters in March from companies across all sectors of business.