Two-thirds of UK firms fear future skills shortage

More than three-quarters of UK businesses expect to increase the number of higher-skilled roles over the coming years, yet the vast bulk of them fear there will be a shortage of suitably qualified candidates, according to a new report.

Two-thirds of UK firms fear future skills shortage
A survey among 28,000 companies conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and education, publishing and assessment service Pearson, has found that 66 per cent of UK businesses believe there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies over the coming years.

Difficulties in recruiting apprentices

The 2018 CBI Education and Skills Annual Report also found that 85 per cent expected to maintain or increase the £44.2 billion investment that UK employers currently spend on training each year."When asked about the impact of the apprenticeship levy, the report highlighted a drop in the number of firms offering apprenticeship programmes – from 83 per cent in 2017 to 70 per cent in 2018)," said the CBI."Worryingly, 59 per cent of those firms that offer such programmes have experienced difficulty in recruiting apprentices or expect to do so in the next three years."
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And although the survey found that business engagement with young people in education had fallen this year, 65 per cent of respondents expressed a desire to play a greater role in supporting schools and colleges.

Firms to invest in staff training

John Cope, head of education and skills policy at the CBI, commented, “This year’s survey shows the scale of the challenge to address skills gaps, with two-thirds of businesses deeply worried that there aren’t enough sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies.“Yet there’s room for optimism. The vast majority of firms do expect to maintain or even increase their investment in staff training, as well as increase the number of higher-skilled roles over the coming years. This is the first time since 2014 that these numbers have been so positive.“Policymakers, business, the education sector and the CBI all have their role to play, in helping the two-thirds of companies wanting to support schools and colleges.”

Gap between learning in schools and job skills

Rod Bristow, president of UK and core markets, added, “It is impossible to ignore the primary trend in this report – the gap between what is learned in schools, colleges and universities and what is valued by employers."Qualifications are one part of the mix, as indicators of achievement and ability, but nurturing the right attitudes, behaviours and skills as young people progress through the education system is just as important.”“Our nation’s future workforce will need to be ‘always learning’ and to respond and adapt to a dynamic labour market, so it’s encouraging to see that businesses are recognising this and investing more in training and upskilling their employees.”The survey found that 62 per cent of firms expected to re-train at least some employees to take up new roles in the year ahead, with more than half of them identifying new technologies or new services as the reasons behind the need to re-train.The single most common driver behind upskilling was the need for employees to acquire new skills and knowledge to raise productivity, and the need to become familiar with new technologies and services.For education and school related news, visit our Education and Schools pages.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryGlobal Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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