Most employers in the UK have struggled to find skilled staff in the last year, a new study reveals today.
The shortage has forced British firms to spend £4.4bn on temps, higher salaries, recruitment fees and training.
Data from the Open University shows that 68 per cent of employers have struggled to find the right kind of staff in the past 12 months.
Around half of the businesses surveyed hired temporary staff, while 44 per cent spent more than they intended on recruiters. Around a third hired staff at a lower level than they needed, while 38 per cent increased salaries.
However, the amount spent on closing the skills shortage actually fell from last year, the figures show.
Then employers spent a total of £6.3bn. They have cut back the most on increasing salaries to attract better staff.
Britain’s skills shortage comes as employment is at its highest point since 1971. Businesses are therefore having to search for staff from a smaller pool.
The development means that 61 per cent of businesses are now trying to develop internal talent.
“It’s encouraging that employers are looking to invest in the talent of their existing workforce, with businesses increasingly turning to strategies that will serve their skills requirements for the years to come,” said David Willett, corporate director at the Open University.
And three in five senior business leaders worry that the shortage will get worse after Britain leaves the EU.
“Training, such as apprenticeships, provides a long-term solution to UK organisations looking to adapt to challenges on the horizon such as Brexit, digitisation and new technologies,” said Willett.