Rise in skills shortage vacancies as training in UK firms falls short 0

Lack of skills training is hampering growth say business leadersNew figures, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), show that despite a surge in job openings, the number of positions left vacant because employers cannot find people with the skills or knowledge to fill them has risen by 130 percent since 2011. These so-called “skills shortage vacancies” now make up nearly a quarter of all job openings, leaping from 91,000 in 2011 to 209,000 in 2015. Over a third of vacancies in electricity, gas and water and construction are now subject to some form of skills shortage, with transport and manufacturing not far behind. Only in public administration are skills shortages below 10 percent. And of particular concern, said the Chartered Management Institute was the revelation that almost half (48 percent) of UK managers have not received any form of training at all during the last 12 months, down from 50 percent in 2013.

Said CMI director of strategy Petra Wilton: “British firms may grumble about ‘talent poverty’ but it’s a direct result of businesses’ under-investment in management skills training – especially for more senior roles.

“Half of candidates lack professional management and leadership skills because the majority of employers don’t offer training to first-time managers.”

For the UKCES report, researchers interviewed over 90,000 establishments across the UK to produce the Employer Skills Survey from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. Widely regarded as being one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of its kind in the world, the survey gathers data from employers on a wide range of issues – from skills gaps and shortages to investment in training and under-employment.

The report finds that

  • the financial services sector has seen the sharpest rise in skills shortages, rising from 10 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in 2015
  • time management is a significant issue, with nearly 60 percent of establishments who reported a skills gap saying that their staff lacked the ability to manage their own time and prioritise tasks
  • across the UK, two million workers are under-utilised – that is, they have skills and experience which are not being used in their current job

Douglas McCormick, Chief Executive of the Sweett Group and a Commissioner at UKCES said: “The UK has witnessed exceptionally strong job creation in the past few years, creating jobs at a faster rate than any other EU country.

“However, this growth has been accompanied by stalling productivity levels. Evidence from the Employer Skills Survey suggests that developing the skills of the existing workforce to taking advantage of new technology and digitisation will be critical if the UK is to finally close the productivity gap.”

The full report, supporting documents, and infographics can be found here.