Lack of skills hampering business growth say UK CEOs

Lack of skills training is hampering growth say business leaders

Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of UK employers say a lack of key skills is hampering their growth prospects – with construction, mining, engineering and energy companies reporting the most chronic shortage of skilled employees. Yet, according to a PwC global survey, while three out of four UK CEOs said creating a skilled workforce should be the Government’s highest priority only a third intended to do anything about it for the coming year. Instead, they see it as a longer-term goal; with 70 per cent of respondents saying they plan to increase investment in their workforce over the next three years.

Laura Hinton, human resources consulting partner at PwC, said: “UK businesses are struggling with a widening mismatch between the skills of their workforce and the skills they need to achieve strong growth.

She added: “At a time when growth is top of all businesses’ agendas, investment in employee training and development should be a key priority for CEOs for the year ahead rather than a longer-term aspiration.”

The research reveals UK businesses are planning to hire this year, with more UK businesses planning to increase their headcount (45 per cent) than make cuts (35 per cent). The remaining respondents (17 per cent) expect their headcount to remain relatively static.

Laura Hinton commented: “Despite the difficult economic backdrop, it is encouraging that UK businesses are continuing to hire. While headcount has been an obvious target for cost cutting in the past, many business leaders are finding smarter ways to strip costs out of their business which won’t damage their employees’ engagement and leave them with talent shortages in the future.

“The most successful companies will combine recruitment with developing the people they already have. Those with a balanced approach to growing their own talent and buying in key skills are most likely to succeed.”

By Sara Bean