Two fifths (42 per cent) of employers who have had difficulty recruiting candidates have increased the salary on offer, according to a survey of employers by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

In an attempt to attract candidates after failing with an initial advertisement, 80 per cent of employers re-advertised the role. A quarter (24 per cent) have resorted to lowering the requirements of the role.

Skills shortages continue to be a major concern amongst employers, with half (49 per cent) stating they expect a shortage of candidates for permanent roles in the next three months.

Demand for staff prevails, with a third (34 per cent) of employers stating they have no spare capacity and would need to take on new staff if demand increased. A further 46 per cent have just ‘a little’ capacity and might have to take on staff if their workload grew.

The REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers also reveals that one fifth (22 per cent) of employers plan to increase permanent headcount in the short term (the next three months) and medium term (the next four to twelve months).

Construction, engineering/technical and health/social care are the three sectors where employers most expect a shortage of candidates for permanent roles.

One fifth (19 per cent) of employers plan to increase temporary agency headcount in the medium term, and 12 per cent plan to do so in the short term.

Engineering/technical, hospitality and drivers are the top three sectors where employers expect a shortage of suitable temporary agency workers.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“The good news is that while we have record employment, employers have no intention of halting hiring. If you’re ready and willing to move jobs, you could benefit from an increase in pay as many employers are increasing starting salaries to attract candidates with the qualities that they’re looking for.

“However, throwing money at the problem isn’t a long-term solution for employers, as they compete with each other for the available talent. We need to train people up by embedding employability skills in schools, providing effective careers guidance and promoting apprenticeships. Employers should take responsibility for investing in training – it will help them retain staff and grow their own talent.

“The short supply of skilled candidates is likely to get worse. Many sectors of the economy are dependent on EU workers. The government has got to design an immigration system which enables businesses to fill the roles they have available and keeps public services up and running. If it becomes harder for EU nationals to work here and employers can’t fill their jobs, they will have little choice but to outsource the work overseas or automate it.”

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.