Research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and professional services firm, KPMG, supports employer criticism of the flagship skills pledge recommended by the Leitch Review, as revealed by Personnel Today.
A quarterly labour market outlook survey, conducted by the CIPD and KPMG, found that despite two-thirds of employers believing that the government is right to prioritise basic skills training, only half (54%) are likely to make a skills pledge to get their workforce up to a level 2 qualification, as proposed by Lord Leitch.
Some employers (14%) are indifferent to the pledge, while 12% believe it is not applicable to them, and 15% of respondents said they were unlikely to make the pledge.
Moreover, of those employers that are unlikely to make the pledge, almost half (46%) are concerned about the cost or resources involved. One-third are not convinced of the business case, while 20% cite a lack of commitment from senior management.
Gerwyn Davies, co-author of the report at the CIPD, said: “These findings underline the institute’s scepticism about the extent to which government can influence how organisations should spend their training budgets. Employers will only invest in training if there is a clear business case for them to do so, so financial incentives might form a part of the developing policy mix.”
Davies continues: “The recognition shown by employers about the need to invest in basic skills training should offer encouragement to the government as it looks to focus its efforts on lower-skilled and unskilled employees.
Only 15% of respondents claimed to have had direct experience of the government’s flagship initiative Train to Gain. One-third of employers that have experienced the scheme are satisfied that Train to Gain meets their business needs, against a quarter that do not.
Sara Caplan, director, government advisory at KPMG, added: “The new Skills Envoy, Sir Digby Jones, has his work cut out in gaining more employer support, to avoid the possibility of legislation being introduced to force the issue.”