Skills gap grows and threatens UK productivity

Joseph Millis
Since 2012, the UK’s talent mismatch level has increased every year (Source: Getty)
UK employers are facing even greater skills shortages and rising wage pressures, according to a new report from global recruiters Hays.

Since 2012, the UK’s talent mismatch level – the gap between the skills people can offer and those employers are looking for – has increased every year. The UK now has a talent mismatch score of 9.7 out of 10, among the worst in Europe, according to the Hays Global Skills Index 2015.

Wage pressure in the UK has also increased significantly since last year as the economy returns to health, said Hays. The recruiter added that this reflects the war for talent in certain industries, including engineering and technology, which is forcing companies to pay a higher premium for the best people.

The report outlines the need for UK and global businesses to work closely with respective governments to find long-term solutions to current talent shortages and faltering productivity. Otherwise long-term growth will be at risk.

Hays’ chief executive Alistair Cox said: “This year’s report offers grounds for optimism, but none for complacency. UK growth prospects are better than they have been in a long time but employers are facing ever-greater challenges to find the talent they need. This can only mean that the productivity challenges we face as a nation will become even more severe.”

“We need to resolve the UK’s productivity puzzle and the current skills gap is clearly a big part of the problem.

The answer does not lie in working longer hours, but in developing and using the right skills for the job. Better training for UK workers, attracting highly-skilled workers from overseas and investing in better technology are all part of the solution and will be critical in shifting the economy into the next gear.”

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