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Skills shortage forces recruiters further afield

A RECRUITMENT agency is searching as far away as London to find suitably qualified IT workers for vacancies in North West Wales.

Employers and recruiters in the area are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled labour locally, despite a desire to create jobs for local people.

Even with thousands of candidates on its books, independent agency Supertemps has a number of IT vacancies it is seeking suitable people to fill.

Sian Williams, manager of the agency’s Bangor branch, said the problem was particularly acute in Gwynedd and Anglesey, where web and Java programming developers sought by private firms are in short supply.

She said: “I think ‘Skills Shortage’ would sum up the job market for Bangor. Companies are certainly hiring, some more proactively than others.

“One of the reasons may be that, especially for senior positions, people already in a job are keeping their heads down, rather than looking for new work."

“To attract talent we’ve advertised on websites and social media, worked with Bangor University to find graduates, spoken to other agencies, and offered rewards for recommending colleagues or friends we place in certain roles."

“We’ve even advertised in London for people to return or relocate to North Wales. In an ideal world we wouldn’t need to do this.”

One solution is for employees and employers to be more flexible, marrying willingness from employees to learn and greater patience, understanding and encouragement from employers.

Ian, originally from Llangefni on Anglesey, has recently returned to the island following a lengthy IT career in London.

A change in lifestyle prompted the move, rather than being headhunted, but he was realistic about his chances of finding the ideal job.

Nevertheless, Supertemps found him a permanent position at a data management software company in Parc Menai, Bangor.

The arrangement requires Ian to train himself in a specific computer language and the employer has given him a three-month trial to “grow” into the position.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Ian said.

“There are a lot of similarities between the products and services my new employers offer and the financial markets data I’ve worked on in London over the last 20 years.”

Ian’s advice to people looking for work but concerned their skills do not match the job criteria is to apply anyway, and offer to learn whatever is required.

He said: “You are locked into what’s available and so you have to look around and see what recruitment agencies and websites have to offer."

“Ask yourself, is there a crossover between what they ask for and what you can offer?"

“If so, this is where you need to expand your horizons. Be prepared to learn something new, and sell your potential to the employer."

“You’re not going to find a job that matches your skills and experience one hundred percent. So keep an open mind, be prepared to learn, and persevere.”

Supertemps also reports a shortage of qualified accounts personnel, business development managers and youth sector management.

It opened its Bangor branch in December to better serve organisations and employees in the Bangor and Caernarfon areas, Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula.

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Posted 07 March 2012

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