Skills gap may hamper UK businesses’ growth plans

27 May 2014

The majority of UK businesses are planning a hiring spree over the next 12 months as growth prospects improve, but nearly two thirds (64%) say that a talent drought means they won’t be able to find the skills to fill vacant positions.

A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOs in 68 countries reveals that a quarter of UK business leaders plan to increase their headcount by up to 5% in the next 12 months, with a further 20% planning increases of up to 8% and a further one in five planning increases of over 8%.

But despite the positive outlook, PwC’s research reveals that UK business leaders are the most concerned amongst Western European companies that a lack of skills will hamper their growth plans. Technology and engineering firms report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.

With the demand for certain skills, such as technology and data analytics, in high demand but short supply, UK businesses are widening their reach to find the talent they need.

Kevin MacAllister, PwC Northern Ireland partner and private sector leader said that, despite rising business confidence equating to more jobs, organisations are struggling to find the right people to fill these positions:

“CEOs believe the gap between the skills of the current UK workforce and the skills their businesses need to achieve growth is widening.

“With two thirds of UK CEOs planning to hire more people in the next 12 months competition for talent will be intense.

“People with tech-based skills, such as cloud computing, mobile technology and data analytics, will be in strong demand but this is also the area with the biggest skills shortage.

The research shows that UK business leaders are looking to the Government to do more to help to plug the skills gap.

Two thirds of UK CEOs say creating a skilled workforce should be the joint top priority for the Government alongside ensuring financial sector stability and access to affordable capital.

However, only 7% of UK business leaders believe the Government has been effective at achieving this, thus far.

  Download The talent challenge_ Adapting to growth_0514


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