Difficulties in hiring were reported by 68 per cent of exporters, according to figures released by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
“If we are going to reverse the UK’s trade deficit, then businesses need a workforce with the appropriate skills and knowledge to trade and compete on the global stage. Businesses must be able to attract and, crucially, retain the talent they need to stay ahead,” said BCC director general John Longworth.
The UK’s strict visa rules for non-EU skilled workers has come under fire for exacerbating skills shortages.
It came as exports suffered in the three months to June. A rise in export sales was reported by 33 per cent firms compared with 15 per cent that said sales were down. The balance of 18 per cent marks a drop from 23 per cent in the first three months of the year, implying a drop in export sales.
At the beginning of 2014 the balance was over 40 per cent.
A separate survey from the Confederation of British Industry yesterday found that graduate hiring had increased over the past year, but that many firms were concerned about the graduates’ skills.