Almost eight out of 10 British businesses found it a struggle last year to hang on to their staff, and the situation appears to be getting worse.
A study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found a sharp increase last year in the number of organisations facing an uphill battle to retain their workers.
While seven out of ten reported difficulties in 2005, this rose to eight out of 10 last year, with no sign that the pressure on employers is easing.
More British firms as a result are now recruiting from overseas, particularly bringing in migrant labour, offering better training or conditions to existing workers in an effort to persuade them to stay and making better use of their employer brand to attract and retain people, said the CIPD.
The institute's annual Recruitment, Retention and Turnover survey found the main difficulty employers had was simply finding and keeping people with the necessary specialist skills.
Higher pay expectations and insufficient experience were other factors now causing problems, it found.
Only the public sector had seen a drop in recruitment difficulties, reflecting the pressure on it to make efficiency savings, said the CIPD.
Nearly a third of employers were now actively using their employer brand as a recruitment tool, with three quarters saying it was effective.
A similar proportion was offering flexible working, with, again, around three quarters finding it had a positive effect.
Organisations were continuing to look beyond the UK to fill vacancies – with 14 per cent targeting migrant workers from European Union accession states.
A further one in ten was recruiting in foreign countries and bringing workers over to the UK.
Report author Nicola Monson said: "Employers will continue to struggle to find suitable candidates and keep staff turnover under control if their approach to recruitment and retention fails to take account of both business and employee needs.
"Only half of employers currently have a formal resourcing strategy, which suggests many are not planning for the future skills requirements of their organisation. This is particularly worrying given that specialist skills and required experience is still in such short supply," she added.
"All organisations rely on talent so employers need to take a proactive approach to talent management and tap into the skills of the people wanting to contribute and progress.
"Actively developing employees should not only increase the internal talent pool, in turn reducing their reliance on external candidates, but also see problems retaining staff ease due to new career opportunities," she concluded.