Talent challenge ahead as UK employers struggle to fill skills gap

Skills gap challenge ahead for UK employersWith the economy picking up, nearly two thirds of UK employers are concerned that they won’t be able to find the people with the skills needed to fill their burgeoning job vacancies. A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOs in 68 countries reveals that a quarter of UK business leaders plan to increase their headcount by up to 5 per cent in the next 12 months, with a further 20 per cent planning increases of up to 8 per cent and a further one in five planning increases of over 8 per cent. But 64 per cent of UK business leaders are more concerned about the availability of key skills than any of their Western European counterparts, rating it as the biggest business threat to their growth plans. Technology and engineering firms report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.

With the demand for certain skills, such as technology and data analytics, in high demand but short supply, UK businesses are widening their reach to find the talent they need. However, rising labour costs in high growth markets and signs of skilled young workers in China and India starting to favour domestic employers is leading organisations to look to Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines for new talent.

“Despite rising business confidence equating to more jobs, organisations are struggling to find the right people to fill these positions. CEOs believe the gap between the skills of the current UK workforce and the skills their businesses need to achieve growth is widening,” explained Jon Andrews, HR consulting leader at PwC.

“With two thirds of UK CEOs planning to hire more people in the next 12 months competition for talent will be intense. People with tech-based skills, such as cloud computing, mobile technology and data analytics, will be in strong demand but this is also the area with the biggest skills shortage.

“Business leaders are looking for people with a far wider range of skills than ever before. “Gone are the days of life-time careers; chameleon-like employees who apply their skills whenever and wherever they’re needed are now in high demand.”

“Businesses need to get out of the mindset that new skills always equals new people. The most successful organisations will combine recruitment with internal mobility and the development of their own people to be more adaptable to its evolving strategy and business environment.”