Business leaders in the West Midlands have said confusion over Government job schemes is making it difficult for SMEs to hire staff.
The comments from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG) came against a backdrop of rising unemployment in the region.
In Birmingham there was a small fall in Job Seekers Allowance claimants from 52,338 in January to 52,135 in February, a drop of 0.1 per cent.
However, in the West Midlands the figure rose from 1,649,190 in January to 1,685,989 in February, an increase of 0.1 per cent. Nationally, unemployment rose by 28,000 to 2.67 million.
Michael Ward, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: “With a complex programme of youth contracts, city deals, a work programme and work experience schemes it is no wonder that employers and potential employees are confused about how to help people back into work.
“Employers have businesses to run and haven’t the time to plough through the plethora of initiatives and the eligibility for each of them every time they want to recruit someone.
“These may be fine for the large corporate companies, but it is preposterous to think that SMEs and medium-sized businesses have time to get to grips with all of this.
“The Chamber urges the government to find a way to simplify the routes into the multitude of initiatives and to provide real financial incentives to encourage participation in them.”
Mike Ashton, spokesman for the West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, said: “It is disappointing that the regional unemployment figures have risen.
“Businesses want to play their part, but complex bureaucracy will not motivate them to get on board.”