Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 09:22 UK

Staffing 'crisis' facing councils

Woman with laptop
The GMB union said some councils still had to get their act together

Councils could struggle from a lack of staff in the coming decade because a large number of workers are set to retire, a report has warned.

One out of every three local authority employees are approaching retirement age and could be difficult to replace, the New Local Government Network said.

It said a potential staffing "crisis" could also be caused by fewer graduates wanting a career in local government.

It urged the government to introduce a fast-track graduate recruitment scheme.

A study indicated many graduates believed council jobs were for middle-aged white men having to deal with parking fines or what type of seat to put at bus stops.

Negative perceptions

Report author Nigel Keohane said: "Our focus group reveals a depressingly negative impression of working in local government and approaches to attracting talent too often reinforce negative perceptions."

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB union, said: "We have been warning for some time that there was an impending recruitment crisis in local government.

"Not only is a third of the workforce due to retire soon, but council-service demand is rising fast.

"We have told council leaders that they need to make themselves an employer of choice and that means not just saying so, but being prepared to pay decent pay rates to attract people."

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