A mixed picture of the prospects for the UK’s workforce has emerged from a new study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), although contractors working through umbrella companies or limited companies may find some aspects encouraging.

The “ Resourcing and Talent Planning Annual Survey, ” produced in collaboration between the CIPD and Hays Recruitment, reveals that small companies are struggling to find workers with the relevant skills even in a context of high unemployment, with numerous applicants for each post.  75 per cent of the survey’s 636 respondents reported that they had experienced difficulty in finding appropriately skilled candidates for their advertised posts in the last year, compared to 68 per cent in 2010.

However, highly skilled PAYE umbrella contractors appear to be increasingly valued by small firms, with 29 per cent of those polled declaring that they saw such workers as a core component of talent planning.  Moreover, the survey reveals that 62 per cent of employers anticipate that demand for contractors and other temporary workers is about to rise.

Continuing economic uncertainty appears to have had a predictable impact on employers, however, with a majority maintaining that they remain reluctant to appoint new permanent staff in the foreseeable future.

The CIPD survey virtually coincides with data from the Office for National Statistics that showed that unemployment fell in the first quarter of 2011 to 2.43 million.

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