Skills shortfall hinders competitive progress

Business leaders are concerned that their workforces lack critical skills,
which compromise their companies’ ability to compete effectively.

Only one in four of the 200 responding employers from the US, UK, France,
Germany, Spain and Australia, believe that most of their employees have the
necessary skills to execute their jobs at industry-leading levels.

The survey, by Accenture, also reveals that although three-quarters of
respondents report their companies have increased or maintained their HR and
training and development budgets (73 per cent and 78 per cent respectively),
only 17 per cent are ‘very satisfied’ with the progress they have made.

One of the factors suppressing satisfaction was companies’ lack of
measurement. More than one-third (40 per cent) of those taking part in the
study report their companies do not regularly measure the business impact of
training and HR against factors such as retention, employee satisfaction,
innovation, productivity and quality.

More than half (52 per cent) of respondents say the HR function is ‘very
critical’ to executing corporate strategy.

Kathy Battistoni, partner in Accenture’s human performance line, said she
was surprised such a high proportion of employers were so unhappy with the
skills of their workforces.

"It is alarming to find that only 25 per cent of executives surveyed
believe their workforce has the skills to make their organisation successful
and viable," she said.

Battustoni added that the high proportion of employers maintaining or
increasing their HR and training budgets in the face of increasing economic
pressures shows that organisations are now putting more value on workforce

Battistoni said it was important that employers put more emphasis on
measuring the impact of these people management policies to drive up

By Ben Willmott

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