UK businesses facing “critical” skills shortage

UK businesses facing "critical" skills shortage

Growth among British businesses may be hampered if more is not done to address the skills shortage within the country.

That is according to the annual survey published jointly by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and education group Pearson, which also showed that employers would like to have greater control over staff training, but lack the resources needed.

Of the 294 firms questioned for the report, 93 per cent felt they had a good understanding of the employee skills they needed within their company in order to get ahead – but they do not have the funding to train unskilled workers.

In addition, an overall lack of confidence in their ability to secure skilled workers is leaving many firms doubtful over the future. Some 41 per cent believe shortages will persist for the next three years and 39 per cent are struggling to recruit the staff they need – especially those with technical talent.

CBI director general John Cridland said that the UK is "facing a critical lack of skills in some key industries" and as a result, the government has to do more to offer funding for small businesses looking to train staff.

"Firms are already investing in training but they cannot do it on their own. We want to see the skills budget protected as far as possible, while focussing on business needs. That means routing funding more directly to firms," Mr Cridland added.

For those small businesses that are keen to employ staff with a view to training them up but are concerned about the cost of offering such programmes, utilising the right technology means overheads can be kept to a minimum.

Conference call software, for example, allows people to connect virtually and effectively, without a firm having to worry about the costs associated with hiring out training rooms or paying for other resources.

If a greater effort to address the shortage of skilled workers now, economic recovery may be hampered in the long term, according to the CBI.