According to the results of Cornwall Chamber’s latest business survey, employers in the Duchy are still struggling to find suitable staff.
47% of respondents to the Q2 edition of the Cornwall Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) said that they have tried to recruit staff over the past three months.
However, the majority (67%) said that they have experienced difficulties recruiting suitable staff; up 10% on Q1 2015 and up 25% for the same quarter last year.
The positions businesses are looking to fill are increasingly full time, permanent posts.
Of those who said they had tried to recruit staff in the past three months, the top three positions businesses were looking to fill were professional/managerial roles, skilled manual/technical roles and semi/unskilled roles.
Despite these difficulties, only 37% of respondents said that they have plans to employ their first or additional apprentice within the next six months.
“The Government incentives for SMEs to take on that first apprentice need looking at again”
Those who already employ apprentices are much more likely to take on more; 73% of respondents with apprentices in place already said that they were planning to take on more. Only 27% of those without an apprentice in place already said that they expect to employ one within the next six months.
When asked what prevents their company employing apprentices, the majority of respondents said either they do not see a need, that they consider the business unsuitable, or that they do not have the people/resources available to manage the apprentice.
Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, commented: “The Government incentives for SMEs to take on that first apprentice need looking at again. There are certain issues around small businesses taking on a young person as is demonstrated by the unemployment figures for 18-24 year olds compared with the workforce as a whole.
“You can see from the figures that once a business is persuaded to take on apprentice, they’ll keep coming for more.”