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73% of UK Organisations are Currently Experiencing Skills Shortages


According to this year’s Business Barometer report published by The Open University (OU) and the British Chambers of Commerce, 73% of UK organisations are currently experiencing skills shortages, which remains one of the major challenges facing employers.

The annual report, which provides a temperature check on the UK skills landscape, highlights that despite the ongoing skills shortage, over a half (54%) of organisations don’t have any specific initiatives, skills programmes or workplace adjustments in place for specific talent pools including underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities or workers from diverse ethnicities.

The report suggests that employers are missing out on the hidden talent pool and an opportunity to ‘grow your own’ talent during a time where two in four (42%) organisations say they have been prevented from filling roles due to lack of applicants.

The report, based on a survey of more than 1,250 employers, also includes:

  • A breakdown of the size, nature, causes, impacts and impacts of the skills shortage.
  • Data from UK regions and nations, across a range of sectors and business sizes.
  • Insight into organisations’ ability to strategically plan to solve their skills gaps
  • Analysis of employers’ plans for learning and development.
  • Case studies of organisations reaching new talent pools through innovative initiatives

Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE, Chancellor at The Open University and President of the British Chambers of Commerce commented, 

It’s clear from this year’s Business Barometer report that the skills shortage has not improved, despite the existing efforts from organisations across the UK. We haven’t solved it yet.

But what is even more concerning is that organisations aren’t investing in specific talent pools, including underrepresented groups. If organisations continue to ignore these workers, they risk missing out on untapped talent and deepening the skills gap even further.

There could be a big opportunity for employers here if hidden talent is given a boost.

Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy, British Chambers of Commerce said, 

Skills shortages are biting hard; damaging businesses and holding back our economic growth. Never has it been more important for businesses, governments and training providers to work together to find solutions.

There’s no doubt that more investment in training and reskilling is essential – together with a laser-like focus on boosting technical skills at all levels – and, crucially, creating a much more agile and flexible skills system to help employers who are struggling with hard-to-fill job vacancies.

View the report's methodology 

Visit the Open University's website to download the full report

Business News Wales