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Skills mismatch ‘will prolong talent shortages’

City & Guilds warns that 22 million people don’t have the skills they need for future roles


The new Skills Index report from City & Guilds Group and Emsi is calling on education organisations, businesses and Government to focus on future jobs and skills as demand continues to outstrip supply.


Analysing data collected by the British Chambers of Commerce, the research found that only 54% of businesses said they can recruit the skilled individuals it needs and 28% cite the mismatch between skills they need and those gained through education.


The research also found that 61% of working age adults (equivalent to more than 22 million people) don’t feel they are equipped with all the skills they will need to unlock new opportunities over the next five years or even remain employable. In addition, 30% have not received formal workplace training in the last five years and 64% have not received any training in the past year – despite 41% of employers saying changing customer behaviours or expectations are most likely to change the skills they need in the future.


“Covid-19 has radically disrupted the labour market displacing almost a million people from their jobs, yet paradoxically employers are telling us that skills gaps remain a chronic issue for them,” said Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City & Guilds Group. “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.”


Fifth of workers ‘hiding in their job’

A survey of 500 recruiters conducted by LinkedIn in May found that 46% have seen a rise in the number of people "sheltering" in their current job. A separate LinkedIn study of 2,025 job seekers found that 21% of UK workers been too worried about pandemic uncertainty to concentrate on career progression.


“It’s understandable that people are feeling anxious about the prospect of moving jobs during a pandemic, particularly if they have good job security, a steady income, and their employer has treated them well over the past year," said Adam Hawkins, head of search and staffing at LinkedIn.


However, as talent shortages create a candidate’s market, Hawkins expects career progression to become more of a priority with employers expected to offer training as well as flexible working.


Rise in job ads for skilled occupations

REC’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker reported a total of 1.63 million active job adverts in the UK in the first week of June, up 300,000 on the previous quarter and a similar level to early March 2020, pre-lockdown.    


Teaching and other educational professionals (+17.8%) was the occupation with the highest weekly increase in active job postings in the first week of June. This is likely to reflect seasonal demand, as teachers moving schools in September have to resign by 31 May. There was also growth in adverts for other skilled roles such as welders (+6.6%), metal working machine operatives (+3.7%) and other skilled trades (+3.5%). Demand for bar staff continued to rise (+4.0%) as more people returned to pubs and restaurants.


“By far their biggest worry right now is the shortage of candidates for jobs,” said REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry. “The pandemic has made existing skill and labour shortages in the UK worse. Governments and business need to work together to ensure access to training opportunities and unemployment support so that there are pathways for everyone into growing sectors.”


Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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