As unemployment hovers around the 2.5 million mark, BP is the latest employer to complain about a shortage of skilled recruits.
A dearth of skilled engineers is threatening to hamper efforts by BP to boost production in the North Sea, including a £3bn redevelopment of two oilfields off the Shetlands.
The company wants to fill between 150 and 300 jobs a year but admits that one of its biggest problems is finding the right people with the right skills. Trevor Garlick, the head of the company's North Sea operations, said: "Getting hold of the right people is a real issue for us. We are hiring a lot of people, but we are also an exporter of a couple of hundred people to other regions. We are a centre for recruiting elsewhere."
Jaguar Land Rover has also said recently it faces problems hiring skilled engineers.