Small businesses face an uphill struggle to recruit the right skilled workers - particularly in London

Tracey Boles
london skyline
London faces skills struggle (Source: Getty)

MORE THAN half, or 55 per cent, of small business owners in London have experienced challenges in recruiting the right staff for their business, according to the latest Aldermore SME Future Attitudes report.

The survey conducted amongst 1,000 SMEs across the UK found that this compared with an average of 43 per cent across the country.

“The skills gap is more severe amongst larger SMEs, employing between 100-249 people. This could explain why the issue is more prominent in London as the region has a higher concentration of larger SMES than other areas in the UK,” said Carl D’Ammassa, Aldermore’s Group Managing Director, Business Finance.

The construction sector faces the greatest challenges with 61 per cent of respondents finding it difficult to recruit the right people.

The overall situation could worsen once the UK leaves the EU according to Aldermore, with a quarter (25 per cent) of London SME owners who think that Brexit will have a negative impact on recruiting EU workers.

Just over a tenth of SMEs in London plan to recruit new staff to boost their production and grow their revenues.

Not being able to recruit the right talent could endanger the growth plans of London’s SMEs on the basis that 11 per cent of SMEs in the capital who expect to grow their revenues in the next 12 months said they are planning to recruit new staff in order to boost production and grow income.

D’Ammassa said: “One area that firms can focus on to close the skills gap is by supporting training and development for their existing staff. In particular, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has previously highlighted a shortage of digital skills as a challenge for many businesses and this is an area that we would urge the Government to continue to focus on.”

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