Tue, Jun

Call for major culture shift to solve skills shortages

City and Guilds Group has published research that highlights existing and emerging mismatches between the skills workers possess and those that businesses need to succeed. In response it is has outlined recommendations to help address the issue.

The City and Guilds 'Skills Index’ report findings are in sync with Manpower UK’s recent survey, which revealed that the proportion of employers struggling to fill certain skills had more than doubled from 35% in 2019 to 77% in 2021.

The latest report (which analyses data collected by the British Chambers of Commerce, with findings from economists at Emsi) reveals that 56% of organisations face some kind of barrier to meeting their skills and talent needs when recruiting, with 28% citing the mismatch between the skills they need, and the skills people gain through school and education as a barrier.

30% (equivalent to 11m people) have not received formal workplace training the last five years, and 64% haven’t in the past year

Three in five (61%) of working age adults (more than 22m people) don’t feel they’re equipped with all the skills they need over the next five years.

City and Guilds is calling for individuals, education organisations, businesses and Government to adopt a more jobs and skills-first focused mentality when it comes to education and training off the back of these findings.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City and Guilds Group, said: “Covid-19 has radically disrupted the labour market, and it’s clear that employers and employees may both struggle to keep pace with the rapid changes in skills needs being driven by factors such as AI and the move to Net Zero.

“Solving this skills mismatch requires a shift in mindset from the individuals themselves as well as employers and the UK Government. It is no longer possible to leave full time education at 18 or 21 and never reskill again - we will require people and businesses to upskill and reskill throughout their working lives.”

 Demonstrating this skills mismatch, almost half (53%) of employers said they will need industry or job specific skills in the next three years. However, just a quarter (24%) of working age adults are confident they have technical skills related to their role. Meanwhile, as digital transformation gathers pace, a fifth (22%) of employers say they will need advanced digital skills in the next three years, but only 9% of working age adults are confident they have these skills.

Job postings for digital and tech saw a 21% increase from April 2020 to April 2021, with the biggest growth in postings for cybersecurity technicians (up 19,222%), full stack engineers (up 312%) and cybersecurity engineers (up 292%). High-level programming and software skills also featured among the most highly sought-after technical skills.

The Skills Index outlines four key recommendations to help address the issue of skills shortages: a more radical approach to lifelong learning - incorporating more bite-sized learning and a Government campaign to convince people of the benefits of training throughout their lives; employers, individuals and Government all to play a part in funding lifelong in the future; better use of data to enable Government, employers and individuals to plan for future skills needs and a commonly understood language of skills to be introduced; and making the skills system more accessible to smaller businesses.


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