Skills shortages making one quarter of jobs hard to fill, study finds

Posted on: February 4th, 2016

3828139856_165707747f_oWe know that it’s not always easy to find the right person for the job – whether that’s finding someone with the right skills, experience or personality traits for the role in question. But a recent survey reported on the FE Week website highlighted the “growing challenge” that ongoing skills shortages present to employers throughout the UK.

According to the recent Employer Skills Survey (ESS) 2015, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), almost one in four (23%) jobs went unfilled last year due to skills shortages.

While this proportion hasn’t changed since 2013, the article notes, it is worrying when we consider that the number of advertised job vacancies in the UK has increased by a staggering 42% during that time.

So while recruitment in general is on the up, the skills shortage faced by a number of industries doesn’t appear to be improving.

In his foreword to the survey, UKCES commissioner Douglas McCormick noted that the study shows us “the other side of the coin”. He explained that, “the dark side of this increase in recruitment is that a growing number of jobs are being left unfilled because companies can’t find the right people with the right skills.”

The 243-page report spoke to 91,000 employers from a variety of sectors and businesses across the country. While the skills gap for those in employment has dropped since 2013, 14% of respondents did say that some of their employees do not have all the skills required to do their jobs effectively.

Interestingly, employers noted that 25% of prospective candidates were lacking basic reading, writing and numeracy skills.

This is having a worrying impact on businesses. Of those employers who had had trouble filling their roles because of skills shortages, more than two-thirds had experienced “a direct financial impact through either loss of business to competitors, or increased operating costs.”

These latest figures on skills shortages have been called “alarming” by the CEO of the Learning and Work Institute, David Hughes.

“This research sends important messages to employers, the government and to people interested in careers,” he stressed, adding that it was time to “recognise that the current employment and skills system is not operating effectively.”

If you’re having difficulty finding people with the right skills, talk to the Lucy Bristow team about what specific skills your company needs and let us find the perfect candidates for you.

Image: receptionist by Petras Gagilas available under a CC BY 2.0 license

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