Many job vacancies in small firms

 

MOST small companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit staff to work in their businesses, according to the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association (ISME).

It said yesterday that 61 per cent of the 203 small and medium sized companies it has surveyed, claimed to have job vacancies they are unable to fill.

Despite high levels of unemployment, ISME said the main problem appears to be a growing unwillingness - particularly among the long-term unemployed - to take-up job offers.

According to ISME, 37 per cent of its members cited a lack of interest in employment as the main reason why they cannot hire additional staff.

Almost a third however also pointed to skills shortages, while 18 per cent said the salaries on offer had failed to attract "suitable candidates" for these jobs. Other problems identified include shortages of graduates and general craftspeople.

When asked about their preferences in terms of the type of people they would like to employ, over 40 per cent of companies said they typically look for workers over 25, with 70 per cent preferring to take on men rather than women.

Firms which have successfully managed to recruit new staff said the best selection channels had proved to be personal contacts and newspaper advertisements. Private employment agencies and the State agency Fas, according to ISME, ranked a "very poor third".

With the typical wage offered in a small firm estimated to be less than £10,000 a year, ISME director, Mr Frank Mulcahy, said its research shows many potential employees are better off on the dole.

Mr Mulcahy was also critical of Fas, which he said is failing to effectively fulfill its role as both a national manpower service and training authority.