Half of UK employers say Brexit will worsen skills gap, new study shows

Just under a quarter of businesses believe the UK is not prepared to compete on the global stage due to the skills gap

Shafi Musaddique
Tuesday 06 February 2018 01:05 GMT
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Employers may need to consider more internal training to offset skills shortage problems
Employers may need to consider more internal training to offset skills shortage problems

Half of UK businesses believe that skills shortages will be made worse by Brexit this year, a new study has found.

Almost two-thirds of employers believe that their own business will suffer from a lack of workers with required skills, according to a survey of 1,355 employers by online jobs board Totaljobs.

Just under a quarter of businesses believe that the UK is not prepared to compete on the global stage due to the skills gap, while half of employers say the shortage will be felt most at mid-management level.

“As we head closer towards Brexit employers will have to think differently about how they attract and retain the best talent from across the globe”, said David Clift, human resources director for Totaljobs.

Mr Clift said staff shortages in mid-management levels are partly due to the “long-term impact of the 2008 financial crisis, when levels of graduate recruitment fell sharply”.

In a bid to tackle the dwindling pool of skilled workers, almost half of UK firms say they would train and upskill workers for new roles.

“Employers may need to consider broadening their hiring criteria and sourcing professionals with transferable skills from other professional backgrounds,” said Chris Hickney, chief executive of specialist recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.

“Additionally, employers should consider the potential in building relationships with universities and colleges, giving them the opportunity to interact with students to help position them as desirable employers and to give students the opportunity to develop the skills early on that will help them thrive in the workplace.”

Research published in January showed the construction industry has been one of the worst hit by the skills gap.

Wages have increased as construction firms have struggled to find skilled builders, squeezing businesses already battling high materials costs on the back of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

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