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Most firms continuing to take on new staff despite skills shortage
THE county’s employment market is buoyant, with a new poll of employers showing virtually every one has taken on new staff.
The Oxfordshire Employment Trends Survey of 82 companies shows 99 per cent have recruited this year, with over half of bosses saying they have added more than 10 staff including newly-created positions.
But there is an ongoing shortage of people with specialist skills to fill specific jobs.
Doctors.net.uk, an online community for medical professionals based in Abingdon, continues to expand, but agrees that it can be challenging to recruit specialist staff.
Human resources assistant Sue Owen-Smith said: “We have had a number of recent vacancies for experienced account managers, ideally with medical or pharmaceutical backgrounds, but it’s taken us longer than expected to fill them.
“Our criteria were initially very specific but we’ve had to broaden our specification to attract a greater range of applicants. We know from conversations with other companies that we are not alone and that people with specialist skills will always be harder to find.”
Research firm, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, based in Crowmarsh Gifford, near Wallingford, recently launched a recruitment drive for a range of scientific training roles as well as support positions.
Human resources adviser Anna Beasant said: “We continue to find it more difficult to recruit statisticians and accountants, partly because we can’t always compete with the commercial sector on basic salary packages but also because of skills shortages.”
The survey also revealed the level of demand for skilled staff, with 30 per cent of jobs created being for specialists, compared to 19 per cent in administration and 10 per cent in marketing.
Kate Allen, founder of Cowley-based Allen Associates which commissioned the report, said: “The fact that local employers are recruiting full-time, part-time and temporary workers for a wide range of roles is great news for jobseekers, but may signal increased competition among companies looking to attract and retain quality people – particularly those looking to fill skilled or technical roles.]
“We know some find it difficult to attract the right calibre of employees to specialist roles, but the majority of those who responded to our survey said Oxfordshire meets their employment needs ‘most’ or ‘some’ of the time and 87 per cent described the market as ‘good’ or ‘fair’.”
The report also revealed that 44 per cent of bosses had rewarded staff with a pay rise of up to five per cent, while six per cent had seen rises of more than five per cent.
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