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Half of Welsh Firms are Struggling to Hire Skilled Staff

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Nearly half (47%) of Welsh firms are reporting difficulty recruiting skilled staff, and around a third (29%) have seen increased staff turnover since June 2016, according to a new employment and skills study from Lloyds Banking Group and London business membership organisation, London First. The study sought to analyse the impact of Brexit on business recruitment and access to skills across the UK.

The skills shortage is proving to be an issue for business, with half (50%) saying it had impacted their activity. More than two fifths (42%) said it had affected their ability to introduce new technology and 37% said it had increased workload and stress for existing employees.

Despite this, Welsh firms are amongst the regions least affected by the skills gap.

Region % of firms who said there had been skills which have been challenging to source in the external market
London 76%
Northern Ireland 69%
South East 63%
West Midlands 63%
North West 61%
East of England 60%
South West 56%
Wales 47%
Scotland 44%
East Midlands 44%
Yorkshire and Humber 44%
North East 40%

 

The skills gap

The biggest skills gap reported by respondents was technical and job-specific skills, with 21% of respondents saying these were the most difficult skills to source, closely followed by management skills, team working, data analysis and numeracy, all at 18% respectively.

Many thought these gaps would persist over the next 18 months, reflecting the UK’s long-term challenge in tackling its skills shortages.

Addressing the challenges

To help generate a pipeline of future talent, 53% of Welsh firms said that they would be focusing on improving skill-set in the next 18 months as part of their recruitment efforts.

More than half (58%) of Welsh firms are already engaged with local schools, colleges and universities and many (55%) want to work with more. Despite this, almost a third (32%) said that they don’t have enough time or staff resource to engage with more schools.

Apprenticeships are proving to be a popular route for employers, with more than two fifths (42%) of Welsh companies surveyed employing apprentices and, of these, almost 8 out of 10 are planning to either hire more or maintain current levels over the next couple of years.

Allan Griffiths, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for Wales, said:

“Access to the right skills, be it technical, digital or practical skills is absolutely crucial for businesses. Both private and public-sector organisations have a role to play in nurturing the next generation of talent and working together we can develop the skills the region needs.

“We’re committed to nurturing young talent as part of our Helping Britain Prosper plan and, in Wales we employ apprentices across our business and work in partnership with local schools, colleges and universities.”

As part of its Helping Britain Prosper plan and as a bank to more than a million UK businesses, Lloyds Banking Group provides financial support and internships to help young people get through university and into the world of work; as well as taking on 1,000 apprentices every year across the country. Lloyds is also helping to train apprentices in other key sectors of the economy, including manufacturing and construction.