UK Facing Skills Crisis

The UK Is Facing A Recruitment Skills Crisis, According To A New Report


Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

Three-quarters of British businesses think that the UK will hit a skills crisis within the next three years, according to a new report.

The paper, which was created as part of a joint project by the Prince's Trust and HSBC, saw 600 business leaders interviewed and asked about the state of the recruitment industry in the UK.

More than 40 per cent of those questioned said they are already experiencing difficulties in filling vacancies at their company.

Furthermore, 68 per cent stated they feared a lack of skills would harm the UK's macro-economic recovery, while an additional 35 per cent feared it could even cause them to go out of business.

Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince's Trust - which works to help young, unskilled school-leavers access new job opportunities - said: "It is deeply concerning that employers are struggling to fill vacancies when we have hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people desperate for work.

"The current economic recovery is encouraging, but in order to sustain this growth, UK plc needs to invest in the next generation to avoid a skills vacuum."

The survey found that 71 per cent of businesses had experienced an increased demand for their services in the previous 12 months, with 63 per cent stating they grew faster than at the same time in 2013.

Ageing workers were one of the main concerns highlighted in the study, with 45 per cent of executives blaming their workers getting older as a primary reason for their recruitment shortfall.

Rob Wall, head of education and employment at the CBI, said: "Moving forward, we need structural reform to open up more routes to higher skills."

There was further bad news for the UK economy, as it was announced the UK trade deficit had widened in June.

Although the coalition aimed to increase exports in its time in parliament, a strong pound has made UK products expensive for foreign buyers.

Expert Opinion
This is yet another study which demonstrates how many small businesses have seen demand for their services rise, leading to an increase in the number of opportunities which have come their way. However, this research also suggests that a downside to this demand is that some businesses may not have access to skills and talent they need to develop and grow.

"It is vital that the Government and other business bodies continue to work to encourage and develop the skills of younger people and school leavers to both ensure that they have the expertise required and that businesses can access a quality pool of talent.

"We would urge any SMEs looking to develop their offerings to always ensure they seek legal advice, particularly when it comes to hiring new staff and ensure their recruitment policies comply with the relevant legislation."
Steven Beahan, Partner