ACE survey confirms acute skills shortages and highlights unethical practices

There are estimated to be 20 000 unfilled jobs in the consultancy and engineers sector, according to a new report by the Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE). The findings of the association’s review of human resources on skill shortages and the behaviour of recruitment agencies underlines the urgent need to address the current skills shortage in the consultancy and engineering industry. A further 2400 vacancies are expected in the next 12 months. The report sets out the full range of recruitment challenges and criticises the ‘unethical behaviour’ of recruitment consultants. 80% of respondents said that recruitment agencies provide an ‘average to poor-quality’ service. It also criticises the artificial market created by some practices, including poaching staff within six months of placing them. Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of ACE, said, ‘The review confirms that recruitment and staff retention is a serious issue affecting our sector. ACE will be taking steps to address the issues raised, including plans for the introduction of a recruitment agency charter, the development of a recruitment portal and the implementation of a new ACE business academy in 2008.’ ACE will also continue to lobby Work Permits UK to recognise engineering in the skills-shortage category and open up a dialogue with the Recruitment Employment Confederation.
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