Skills shortage doubled since pre-Brexit and pandemic as four in five firms struggle to fill roles
Four in five businesses are struggling to fill vacancies because of a lack of skilled workers – the highest number in 17 years, new research suggests.
Employment group Manpower said the number of employers reporting skills shortages has increased six-fold over the last decade – and more than doubled since pre-Brexit and the pandemic.
A survey of 2,020 UK employers suggested that the most difficult jobs to fill included those in energy and utilities, healthcare, transport, real estate and computing.
Michael Stull, director at the Manpower Group, said: “Talent shortages are always an area of concern for employers, but the real step change in our data can be seen post-2019.
“The pandemic exacerbated the shifts we had predicted to shape the future of the workplace – changing age demographics and evolving technology – which have heated up the battle for talent.
“Many employers remember how long it took to bring workers back post-pandemic and they’re acutely aware of the growing scarcity of key skills, so they’re holding onto and trying to stockpile business critical talent. Just in time hiring does not work anymore, just in case hiring is more the mantra.”
Manpower also reported an acceleration in the adoption of technology, from more self-service checkouts in supermarkets to cyber security at the highest levels as a result of organisations having problems finding workers with IT and data skills.
Mr Stull added: “Organisations need to flip their HR and people practices and put more emphasis on retaining and upskilling rather than just hiring to plug gaps. The focus needs to be on investing in long-term skills, creating jobs that people want, providing upward mobility and enabling a better work/life balance.
“We’re pleased with the Government’s recent pledge to support and guide workers who are keen to re-join or remain in employment. Now it’s time for employers to go one step further, preparing the workplace and ensuring training opportunities to meet those returning needs.”
Almost two thirds of respondents said they were offering more flexibility in where staff worked and how many hours they put in.
Rashik Parmar, chief executive of BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT, commented: “The information technology profession changes lives, yet employers are struggling to find workers with the right digital skills.
“For example, the figure for over 50s working in IT is significantly lower than in other sectors, as are the proportions of women and people with disabilities.
“This is clearly costing the economy and society, given how deeply computing is woven into everyday life.
“We need to make sure people can develop the tech skills they need while working and that they can come into the profession with the right support and training.”
Press Association – Alan Jones