34% of UK businesses considering automation as response to skills shortages
34% of UK managers say that their organisation has considered automating elements of their business in order to tackle skills shortages that might come about because of Brexit. This number rises to 44% in London, according to the Adecco Group UK and Ireland’s ‘Brexit: retaining talent through change’ report.
The majority (71%) of managers think the UK’s decision to leave the EU will make skills harder to acquire for organisations operating in Britain. A third (34%) think this regardless of the outcome of Brexit. Yet, one in five (20%) do not plan to employ any strategy to tackle Brexit-related skills shortages.
Alongside implementing technology, those organisations that are considering different strategies to manage potential skills shortages, are thinking about upskilling existing staff (35%) and increasing talent retention (25%).
Alex Fleming, country head and president of staffing and solutions at the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, said, “The idea that Brexit will exacerbate the UK’s skills shortage is not a new one, but with one in five businesses not planning to do anything to mitigate this, not all organisations are prepared to deal with this reality.
“In order to not just succeed but thrive once the UK leaves the EU, every employer needs to have a plan for how they will address current and potential future talent challenges. Looking to other countries and how they have dealt with labour shortages can help. In Singapore, for example, organisations are being encouraged to create opportunities for older workers, and think about how they can design jobs to help extend their working lives. Alongside making better use of your existing workforce and improving your retention rates, thinking about how to attract potentially untapped sources of talent can help futureproof your organisation in the face of any skills gaps - Brexit related or not.”
Dan Lucy, principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, added, “Perhaps the key thing for employers to realise is that there are lots of things they can do now to address current and avoid future talent shortages. Many of the actions employers can take will also enhance employer brand and reputation in the jobs market, creating a virtuous circle and helping position those who take action as employers of choice.”
After Brexit (33%), skills shortages (27%) are cited as the next most likely factor to hinder Britain’s ability to remain globally competitive. Other concerns include a lack of investment in AI (9%) and a lack of financial investment from global businesses to operate in the UK (9%).
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