The UK Skills Shortage Is Becoming Severe: Here’s What You Can Do

6 December 2019

In fact, government data found that over 90 per cent of UK organisations struggled to find workers with the correct skills for open positions in the past 12 months, with over 60 per cent of senior leaders agreeing that the skills shortage has worsened in recent years. 

In total, this shortage is costing UK employers an annual price tag of over £6 billion—evident through bolstered employee training requirements, additional recruitment costs and temporary staffing solutions. Regardless of company size or sector, the UK skills shortage is a problem that your organisation simply can’t ignore. Consider the following guidance to combat the rising skills shortage crisis: 

  • Make the most of employee training - Although staff training is an added cost, investing in an effective training programme can help save your organisation money in the long run by ensuring a more competent and confident workforce. Be sure to develop a staff training programme that identifies key role responsibilities, establishes concrete learning objectives, utilises an effective teaching format and follows a realistic time frame.
  • Review your recruitment practices - Apart from employee training, it’s important to make sure your recruitment practices are as successful as possible to avoid wasted costs and attract the best candidates. Ensure your organisation is advertising job openings in effective locations, regularly attending recruitment fairs and taking advantage of social media platforms (eg Facebook and LinkedIn). 
  • Reconsider your candidate pool - If you are having trouble finding candidates who meet the full requirements of your organisation’s open positions, it might be time to get creative with your talent pool. For example, job candidates over the age of 65 who have all of the necessary skills for a role but can only work part-time shouldn’t be overlooked. Rather, consider hiring multiple part-time employees to fill a single position. Having part-time workers with the correct skills will likely save you more money overall than having a full-time, unskilled employee. 
  • Prioritise staff retention - Lastly, it’s crucial to make staff retention a priority in order to preserve your current talent pool. You can do so by implementing initiatives that foster a positive working culture—such as offering flexible working hours, increasing recognition for employee success and hosting workplace well-being events (eg a company run or walk). 

The content of this Profile is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly.

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