Tuesday 4 February 2020 12:01 am

Skills shortages continue to hit growth as UK employers struggle to find the right talent

Skills shortages are continuing to impact economic growth, with almost three quarters of businesses reporting difficulties recruiting new talent at the end of last year, a new report found.

While the UK’s labour market remained stable in the fourth quarter of 2019, with over half of firms attempting to recruit, 72 per cent of businesses had difficulties sourcing the right talent, according to the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) quarterly recruitment outlook report. 

“Although it is encouraging that businesses are looking to take on people, the prolonged skills shortages they’re facing are not sustainable as they try to shake off years of political uncertainty and pursue growth,” said BCC director general Adam Marshall. 

Skills shortages were most apparent in the construction and hospitality sectors, with 79 per cent and 77 per cent of businesses respectively struggling to recruit staff.

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Two thirds of construction businesses attempted to recruit in the fourth quarter, up from 62 per cent on the previous three months. 

The survey, which is produced in partnership with Totaljobs, also found that one in four firms expect to increase their workforce in the first quarter of next year. 

BCC and Totaljobs said the report’s findings “highlight the need to address critical skills shortages in the upcoming Budget”.

““Training has got to be at the heart of the upcoming Budget if the government wishes to demonstrate that it is serious about ‘levelling up’ opportunity all across the UK,” said Marshall.

“Funding boosts are needed for vocational and technical education, for apprenticeships, and for incentives to help more employers provide high-quality job-related training.”