Firms clash in war for talent

Employers are fighting for engineering, computing and IT staff, and a divide is opening up between manufacturing and service sectors, a recruitment survey shows. London and the south east are the hardest areas in which to recruit

Growth in service employment continues to outstrip that in manufacturing by a wide margin, according to the latest Recruitment Confidence Index report.

The quartely survey- based on the recruitment expectations and attitudes of a cross-section of 975 UK organisations with between 25 and 151,000 employees – shows that service businesses are more confident about their prospects than manufacturing companies.

Employers anticipate difficulty in filling engineering vacancies, the survey, produced by Cranfield School of Management, The Daily Telegraph and recruitment consultancy TMP Worldwide, says.

Some 39% of the manufacturing companies which responded expected to increase employment in the next six months, while 25% expected to shed labour. In the service sector, 57% expected to take on more workers and only 14% anticipated cutting staff.

Professor Chris Brewster of Cranfield School of Management said that the findings highlighted a divide between the two sectors. `The popular north-south divide discussion is a bit misleading – some of the poorest areas are in London. The manufacturing versus services divide is the real issue.’

However, according to the Recruitment Confidence Index, 71% of organisations that do expect to recruit engineers in the next six months anticipate difficulties.

Chris Hermannsen, UK managing director at TMP, said the findings on recruitment proved that parts of the job market were going through `a war for talent’.

He said: `It is particularly fierce for IT professionals, top finance people and lawyers. And there is a significant demand for traditional managerial and professional roles in the high-tech manufacturing businesses.’

The most difficult vacancies to fill at managerial/professional level are expected to be in engineering, computing and IT.

The more senior the position, the more likely that recruitment difficulties will occur. Some 56% of respondents who expect to recruit at board level were preparing themselves for difficulties, whereas, at graduate level, this figure dropped to 28%.

London and the south east remain the most problematic regions in which to recruit.

The Recruitment Confidence Index findings came in the week that companies working on the electrification of the West Coast Main Line admitted they could not fill engineering vacancies and were recruiting from India.

Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, said the RCI report and the West Coast Main Line case highlighted the fact that UK companies are failing to spend enough on training.

Copyright: Centaur Communications Ltd and licensors