Recruitment Shortages in Consultancy and Engineering Forecast

Concrete evidence of serious recruitment challenges and skills shortages in the consultancy and engineering sector has been revealed today in a new report from the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE).

ACE's Skills Shortages and Recruitment Agency Behaviours report — which covers the broader market and not just broadcasting — clearly outlines the urgent need to address the current recruitment crisis facing the consultancy and engineering industry. According to the report there are currently 20,000 unfilled jobs in the sector with a further 2,400 vacancies expected over the next 12 months alone — a period which is likely to see a massive increase in engineering and construction work in the UK as a number of major projects are started.

Following calls from industry leaders for a definitive investigation into the scale of the skills shortage, a regular top-three issue of concern for firms in ACE's annual State of Business survey, ACE conducted an in-depth investigation. The resulting report highlights the shortfall of high-calibre graduates joining the sector and predicts that skills shortages will worsen if action is not taken. The report highlights the range of recruitment challenges, criticises the unethical behaviour of recruitment consultants, which ACE believes is having a detrimental effect on firms' ability to fill vacancies and also outlines a series of initial recommendations to address the issues raised.

ACE Chairman Michael Whitwell said: "This report provides concrete evidence that there are serious recruitment challenges affecting our sector. ACE will be taking steps to address these, including engaging key stakeholders in our sector and government on how to effect a sustainable solution to the current shortages". The report also highlights ACE's plans for a recruitment agency charter, a commitment to investigate the viability of creating an online recruitment portal and plans to develop an ACE business academy in 2008.

ACE is continuing to lobby Work Permits UK to recognise engineering in its skills shortage categories and the organisation is also seeking a dialogue with representatives of the recruitment industry via the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).