Skills shortages still a worry for UK employers despite millions of unemployed

Skills shortages remain a worrying issue for many UK companies despite millions of people being unemployed, research revealed today.

Almost one-third (31%) of the 209 companies surveyed by the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils said that it is not possible to recruit people with the required skill.

Just under two-thirds of the panel did not feel that government investment in education is “well targeted” to the needs of their sector.

The comments suggest that some employers feel that funding is not well targeted and has affected the type of training they are able to access.

A trade association in facilities management, housing and property sector said: “Currently, there is funding chaos, especially for apprenticeships and Train to Gain.”

There was also some calls among the panel members for the government to recognise those who do train, through, for example, concessions or tax breaks.

An employer in the motor industry sector said: “The government expects too much from employers without giving any concessions to those that do invest.”

John McNamara, chief executive of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, said: “Despite welcome economic data showing that the economy is stabilising, there are still real issues for employers in terms of skills. Not only can many employ people with the right skills, but economic conditions continue to hold back investment in staff training and development for the existing workforces of some companies.”

The research was released on the same day as the first National Strategic Skills Audit, commissioned by the government and published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). It revealed that the number of people reported as ‘not fully proficient’ at their jobs has increased by 400,000 from 1.3 million in 2005 to 1.7 million in 2009.

Initial key findings from the UKCES report, unveiled last week, revealed that the number of skills shortage vacancies was 63,000 – equivalent to three per 1,000 workers – just under half the number reported in 2007.

Comments are closed.