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Two thirds of local authorities and over 90% of NHS trusts have found difficulties in recruiting and retaining staf...
Two thirds of local authorities and over 90% of NHS trusts have found difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff over the past year.

In local government IT staff are the most commonly mentioned problem group.

Initiatives taken by employers to counter the problems have included improved recruitment methods, including use of the internet.

These are among the findings of the 1998 IDS survey of the public sector labour market, published in the latest issue of IDS Report, out today.

The survey results are based on responses from 66 local government bodies employing some 250,000 employees. The annual survey covers public sector employers' experience of recruitment and retention over the past year, the extent of local variations in terms and conditions, and the likely impact of the National Minimum Wage and the Working Time Regulations. Among the findings are that:

- difficulties in recruiting and retaining IT staff were the most frequently mentioned headache among the local authorities surveyed. While some local authorities said they were responding with more flexible working practices, the most common responses centred on improving methods of recruitment, training and development

- on average, the proportion of employees working part-time was up both in the health service and local government

- the use of temporary employees was much less common, accounting for 6 per cent of the local authority workforce

- the national minimum wage is expected to raise the pay of some workers affected by competitive tendering in local government

- the Working Time Regulations are likely to have a wider impact, particularly affecting night work and shift work arrangements in local authorities

Copies of IDS Report are available at£30 as part of a three-month trial subscription. For further information contact Alastair Hatchett or Sarah Miller on 0171 250 3434.

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