SNP hit out at Labour over council redundanciesRecruiting new employees takes too long and is too costly according to a new survey from Maximus UK and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Over 80% of the companies that responded employ fewer than 100 staff and identified recruitment as a great challenge in managing their workforce.

The two-week survey was conducted amongst over 500 SMEs in all sectors and was carried out following the unveiling of the Government’s Work Programme recently, a scheme designed to match job seekers with the appropriate job in order to obtain sustainable employment and gain long-term self-sufficiency. Maximus is involved in delivering the Work Programme.

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Over 40% of companies responding to the survey estimated the cost of recruiting a new employee is more than £2,000 and for more than half (53%) of the businesses, the business owner is responsible for recruitment – less than a quarter of the businesses said they have personnel departments to handle staffing.

Only 3% of the businesses regularly use a recruitment agency. Just over half use agencies occasionally, while 46% said they would never use a staffing agency. Two-thirds of respondents cited high costs as a reason for not using external agencies and 11% indicated that the use of staffing agencies is too time consuming.

Online job boards fare only slightly better. Almost one-fifth of respondents always use online job boards, 43% sometimes use a job board, and 39% said they never would. Nearly half of all companies responding to the survey indicated that the CVs they receive via online job boards do not match the requirements of their job openings while 20% indicated that the use of job boards is too time consuming.

David Riches, Director of Operations at the British Chambers of Commerce. “As the Maximus survey shows, the cost and time involved in hiring new staff can be difficult for small- and medium-sized firms. There are currently almost 2.5 million unemployed individuals in the UK, including over one million young people, so we must make it easier for companies to recruit.”