Recruitment rise raises fears of skills shortages

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The Independent Online

Recruitment levels are set to double in 2011, raising fears of a return to pre-recession skills shortages, a report published today reveals.

Some 28 per cent of companies are planning to hire extra staff next year, compared with the measly 13 per cent recorded in 2009, according to theconsultancy group PricewaterhouseCoopers' survey of more than 1,000 human resources directors.

"The expected headcount increases are encouraging news for the job market and suggest the private sector will be able to accommodate thosepublic sector workers who are made redundant," said Michael Rendell,head of human resources servicesat PwC.

But finding the right people is increasingly difficult, with 53 per cent of respondents rating skills shortages as the greatest challenge in the coming year. Global mobility and employment laws are also potential bug bears, cited by 34 per cent and 23 per cent of business respectively.

"The UK has lost its position as the world's most educated workforce, which is particularly worrying as we come out of the recession and may limit future growth," Mr Rendell said.

Concerns about skills shortages are less sharp in the US, where just 27 per cent of respondents cite finding the right skills as a primary challenge. Instead, the biggest worry is the impact of changes in employment laws, such as the Dodd-Frank Act forcing companies to disclose pay ratios. The issue is ranked as the biggest challenge by half of businesses surveyed.