Skills shortage affects half of London businesses

Half of the London’s businesses are facing skills shortages which are affecting their ability to develop their business, according to new research from KPMG and the CBI.

The London Business survey reveals that 56% of businesses questioned in London felt that skills shortages were a major barrier to their growth.

They felt that the level of skills in their workforce was a bigger problem than issues such as over-regulation.

When asked what kind of skills employers felt were particularly lacking responses included:

  • Specific skills relevant for the job
  • Key skills, including communication, business awareness and team skills
  • Technical skills
  • Financial skills and managerial skills

Keith Dugdale, head of recruitment and resourcing at KPMG said:  “Our own experience confirms that the labour market is incredibly competitive at the moment with financial and managerial skills in huge demand.

“The City is a real hot spot, with the banks, consultancies and professional services firms all chasing the same people.

“In such a competitive climate retention has become as big an issue as recruitment for us.”

The results of the survey also revealed that specific sectors suffer more than others.

The distribution and retail sector is more likely to face problems with 25% of respondents saying the situation is acute, and 66% citing the skills shortage as ‘quite problematic’.

The energy, manufacturing and construction sector follows closely with 56% of respondents facing problems finding people with  the right skills.

Dugdale said: “It is difficult to see the current skills shortages being met from the London talent pool and there is no doubt that it is beginning to be a real threat to the continued growth of the London economy.

“It’s therefore not surprising to see lots of firms now looking internationally to recruit the talent they need to grow their businesses.

“It may be a real problem for London employers but it is a great opportunity for qualified staff from the new EU accession states and temp workers from Australia and New Zealand.”

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