Firms struggle with skills shortage

Updated: 

John Cridland

The UK is facing a "critical" lack of skilled workers as firms struggle to recruit suitably qualified staff, according to a new report.

A survey of almost 300 companies by the CBI found a "stubborn shortage" in the skills industry needs to remain competitive and fuel long-term growth.


The study showed that three out of five firms are struggling to recruit workers with the advanced technical skills they need and feared shortages will persist for the next three years.

Almost half lacked confidence in being able to take on high-skilled workers, especially in manufacturing, construction and engineering.
One in two of those polled revealed they had to put on basic remedial training for employees and 55% said school-leavers lacked the right work experience. A third were dissatisfied with some school and college-leavers' basic literacy and numeracy.

The CBI said it feared that a return to long-term growth might be held back by shortages in key industries.

Director general John Cridland (pictured) said: "We're facing a critical lack of skills in some key industries, just as the economy starts to pick up. Long-term sustainable growth will come in part from rebalancing towards high-value products and services, which demand much better technical skills.

"We need to boost our skills base urgently before the UK loses more ground. It's time to stop looking on enviously at Germany and build a system that works."

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: "This report highlights a serious problem. For far too long our education and skills systems have not been rigorous and have been distant from the needs of employers.

"We are reforming the whole system to make it more rigorous and more responsive to the needs of employers, and tackling skills shortages to make ourselves more competitive in the global race."

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