One in five employers has recruited a migrant worker in the past three months due to shortages of skilled local staff, according to a new study.

A survey of 700 employers found that those in the public sector were more likely to hire migrant staff than those in private firms.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said its research also showed that two out of five employers had vacancies that were hard to fill, especially for doctors, nurses and engineers.

One in 10 firms said they planned to outsource jobs abroad this year, rising to almost half of IT companies and one in five manufacturers, with favoured countries including India and those in Eastern Europe.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: “Despite rising unemployment, employers are still struggling to recruit the people they need and we are turning abroad to plug the gap.

“Through a combination of recruiting migrant workers to fill UK vacancies, or outsourcing work to locations abroad, employers are looking to strike the right balance between the skills for the job and the cost reductions needed to meet budget targets.”