New recruitment figures have shown that one in seven employers are struggling to fill vacancies with appropriately skilled staff, despite unemployment recently reaching a record high.

The engineering, catering and management sectors are encountering the most difficulty in finding staff, according to a survey of 2,100 employers carried out by high-street recruitment agency, Manpower.

This is despite 2.46 being registered as out of work in the three months to March this year. A lack of technical skills and a dearth of viable applications have prompted employers to engage in increasingly diverse forms of recruitment – such as social media and online recruitment – to track down elusive candidates.

According to the survey, around 15 per cent of employers said they had had difficulty filling positions this year – a figure that rose from nine per cent in 2010. Finding appropriate employees for the engineering sector has proven to be a persistent headache, having consistently been one of the four most difficult sectors to find employees for over the last six years.

The problem has prompted many employers to look beyond their geographic region for new employees and to even cast their eyes abroad to fill roles.

However Geoff Newman from online recruitment agency Recruitment Genius questions these figures.

“Every day we receive approximately 60,000 job applications, many from highly skilled employees who are willing, able and available. We have such a high success rate of filling jobs I have to question whether the employers surveyed are asking for the impossible.

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