Many professions are experiencing difficulties in finding employees with the required skills. As such it’s becoming more expensive to employ an individual already skilled in a given area. As demand increases, so does the amount of skilled workers decrease. Instead of fighting the trend and running into difficulties, it may be worth considering training your existing employees to ensure that your business does not have a skill shortage.
In 2014, as companies continued to invest in staff, there was a growth in the number of temporary and permanent job appointments, in the UK. This was due to companies addressing the skills shortage facing the country.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG released a report showing that job vacancies are rising at their fastest rate since May of 1998. Employers seek to bring in more staff but training these new recruits and existing staff remains a problem.
UK skills shortage
All regions in the UK are struggling with skill shortages particularly in industries like construction and engineering but these industries are experiencing booms. Companies however are finding it hard to capitalise on this, as they cannot find employees with the correct skill sets.
This however is good news for employees as employers are starting to see the benefit in training them. Employees are now in a position to benefit if they’re trained appropriately. This means that their salaries or hourly pay rates are increasing as demand is bottled up.
Business can also benefit from this situation, as it’s more cost effective to train existing staff than pay higher rates for individuals with the prerequisite skills. There are numerous e-learning courses available that allow employees to further their training, increase their pay, and learn new skills in a variety of sectors.
Tom Hadley of the recruitment agency said, “The (REC) report shows many of the latest in-demand roles are being sought by employers looking to invest in staff to build their businesses, including customer service, marketing, and sales roles, although there are skills shortages across all sectors.
This again underlines just how critical the issue of skills shortages is becoming, as business will not be able to contribute to economic growth if they cannot find the skilled workers they need.”
The suggestion from Mr Hadley is to develop careers guidance that is “fit for purpose” and targets the sectors that need skilled workers and face the biggest potential for growth if the right staff are employed.
According to a government agency, employers will not be able to make the most of the economic recovery, as one in five job vacancies requires skilled candidates. These candidates are not currently available and so the pressure to find employees for a business grows.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) reports that about 22% or 124,800 of the 599,600 job vacancies in England are “skill shortage vacancies.” This number has almost doubled since 2009. The overall number of job vacancies has risen by 45% and has returned to pre-crisis levels.
Douglas McCormick from UKCES and managing director from engineering consultancy firm Atkins said that businesses need to act now if they want to be able to fulfil contracts in the future.
He said, “Whilst the rise in the number of vacancies is a good sign that the economy is recovering, there’s a real possibility that businesses might not be able to make the most of the upturn because they don’t have the right people.”
Arguably, it would be better to educate people about the job sectors that need skilled work, such as the famed IT shortage. More high quality apprenticeships would help and careers advice should not only offer guidance, but e-learning in a given sector. This is where a business can take advantage of the economic upturn. Educate and train your staff and ensure a better future proof workforce.
Business fails to address the problem
The skills shortage affects Scotland disproportionately. 25% of vacancies there are due to skills shortages. However with skills shortages being such an acute problem most business have yet to even address it. McCormick further stated that in the last decade there had been no significant change in the percentage of staff in the UK receiving training from their employer. In fact the amount of money invested by employers in training has decreased from £1,680 per employee in 2011 to £1,590 in 2013.
McCormick said, “There are also signs that some employers might be trying to solve their skills problems by choosing to recruit highly skilled and qualified staff to do very basic jobs.”
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published a skills and employment manifesto. In it, it was argued that by failing to equip young people with the necessary skills, the UK was risking its future prosperity.
The BBC’s president, Nora Senior, said: “Skills will decide who wins and who loses in a 21st century economy – yet employers across the UK constantly say they struggle to find prospective employees, particularly those leaving education, who have the right skills to succeed in the workplace.
The world has changed at a rapid pace. If Britain doesn’t keep up, employers who are unable to access the skills they need or those unwilling to invest in training will lose business to other firms at home and abroad, putting us at a disadvantage.”
A well trained workforce
It is increasingly important to ensure that your workforce is well trained. It’s not as important to employ staff with the right credentials, depending on your sector it may be impossible, but it is advisable to train your staff and increase their skill set.
A better-trained workforce will make your business stand out, especially with the skills shortage that is affecting the UK economy. It is possible to use e-learning tools to combat the problem. Make sure that your company is future-proof and prepared to capitalise on the gap in the market that the skills shortage has created.