A shortage of skilled candidates and the cost of permanent contracts may begin to act as a hiring deterrent to employers despite the economic recovery, a recruitment specialist has warned.

Beatrice Bartlay, managing director of the specialist recruitment company 2B Interface, acknowledged that employment has now reached pre-recession levels; however, unless the high cost of employment and the talent shortage are tackled, the future success of the employment sector may be threatened.

UK firms, Ms Bartlay said, are finally gaining the confidence to hire permanent staff, even though this is a big commitment for businesses and particularly for SMEs. Employment contracts are very costly due to the administrative burdens involved, she explained ‒ a problem she believes could be eased by granting more freedom in the recruitment process. Such a move would decrease the onerous responsibilities on employers and allow them to push employment rates even higher.

A talent shortage is also threatening growth. In more turbulent times, Ms Bartlay explained, firms often turn to skilled temporary staff to reign in employment costs and keep the business going. These solutions, of course, include hiring Umbrella Company Employees and other independent professionals from the UK’s contracting community.

A skills shortage in key areas such as IT may well mean that employers will need to continue to rely on skilled contractors due a lack of suitably-qualified permanent candidates. The Institute of Engineering and Technology recently found that 44% of employers reported that the IT, technology and engineering permies they had eventually recruited did not have requisite level of skill for their jobs, with 60% fearing that this shortage would threaten their businesses.

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