UK faces workforce gaps due to skills shortages

A Government study released last week warns of acute skills shortage in
British industry in the coming decade.

Skills minister John Healey predicts that thousands of jobs could be left
vacant because the UK workforce does not have the skills to fill them.

The joint report, by the DfES and the Learning and Skills Council, claims
one in 10 employers are already experiencing shortages. Staff retirement is
expected to create five times more job openings as opposed to new vacancies by
the end of the decade.

"Much more needs to be done to improve our performance in information
technology, numeracy and management," Healey told employers in London last
week at the City and Guilds National Conference.

"We could end up with thousands of jobs in key sectors being vacant
because we simply do not have enough people with the right skills to do

The report also shows that adults working in the UK spend very little time
on training, despite the demand for skills having risen across all occupations.

However, the proportion of the workforce in managerial and professional
occupations has increased from a third in 1991 to 37 per cent in 1999, and the
percentage of people without any qualifications has decreased by 5 per cent
since 1995 to 11 per cent.

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