Half of employers say Brexit will worsen skills gap

Almost two thirds of employers (65%) believe that they will be negatively impacted by skills shortages in 2018, according to a new study.

The research paper entitled “Solving the UK Skills Shortage” from Robert Walters, totaljobs and Jobsite, is based on a survey of 1,355 employers and 3879 candidates.

It also finds that half of employers surveyed believe the skills shortage will be exacerbated by Brexit. Due to the skills gap the country is facing, 23% believe that Britain is not prepared to compete on the global stage, which will become even more important following the UK’s exit from the European Union in 2019.

David Clift, HR Director, totaljobs, says: “As we head closer towards Brexit employers will have to think differently about how they attract and retain the best talent from across the globe. For current staff, training will be key to closing any skills gaps, and giving employees the confidence that the businesses they work for can help them fulfil their career ambitions.

“When it comes to attracting staff, employers will have to look to different industries to find the transferable skills that are essential to grow. This means that there will be more opportunities for skilled candidates to use their knowledge and experience in different sectors, providing them with new challenges and opportunities in industries that they may not have considered before.

“Shortages are likely to be particularly severe at the junior and mid-management, partly due to the long-term impact of the 2008 financial crisis, when levels of graduate recruitment fell sharply.

“Employers looking to find long-term solutions to the current skills shortage should focus on engaging with and informing graduates and university students of the opportunities available in their industry.”

Asked how they might tackle the skills shortage,  28% of employers would target professionals from other fields who possess transferable skills and 49% would use internal training to upskill staff.

Candidates were also asked what employers should do: 57% would look for roles in other fields where their skills would be transferable, 48% believe that employers should partner more effectively with local universities and educate students on potential career paths and 48% believe that they should offer work placements.

Another report out this week from Claytons Legal found that, while law firms are optimistic about headcount growth in 2018, skills shortages are the top challenge facing legal practices, with 67% concerned that access to talent could hamper growth. In addition, staff retention was ranked as the second biggest challenge (20%) demonstrating that while firms may be optimistic about growth, talent management strategies will be business critical to ensure practices have the right people to service their clients effectively.

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