More than 45% of companies have recruited staff dedicated to risk management within the past year, according to a survey of 350 employers throughout the United Kingdom.

The rate of recruitment to key areas such as health, safety and the environment is double what it was in 1998 according to Sypol Liberty Risk Services, which carried out the research.

The services sector accounted for 40% of all vacancies in 1999, followed by the

construction industry (30%), and manufacturing and local and national government 15% each.

Despite the appetite for employing people to manage risk, employers complain that it is difficult to find staff of sufficient "calibre", with most job announcements failing to stipulate particular qualifications.

Of those that do demand a qualification, 71% want employees with diplomas in health and safety.

One third require full corporate membership of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.