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26 July 2023

Upskilling Could be Key to Combat UK’s Hiring Lull

ACT explains why its ‘improving lives through learning’ approach could be essential in maintaining and nurturing staff for Welsh businesses.

It will come as no surprise to anyone working in talent acquisition that the job market has seen hiring rates slow considerably over the past eighteen months.

According to Linkedin’s Talent Trends report, hiring rates have dropped by 34 per cent in the UK.

In the report, the company’s Chief Economist, Karin Kimbrough, said:

“The way through this ongoing uncertainty and change is to create a more efficient and equitable labour market – and we do that by orienting businesses around skills.”

Skills have always been an important factor when hiring, both for employers and employees, but we are seeing an increased focus in what skills – particularly upskilling – can do to combat a stagnant labour market.

ACT, Wales’ leading training provider, is currently working with more than 600 employers across Wales including Molson Coors, The British Heart Foundation, The Celtic Manor Resort and NHS Health Boards to provide work-based training programmes to give staff the chance to upskill on the job.

Upskilling is the fourth top priority for potential employees behind benefits, flexible working arrangements and careers growth.

It provides continuing professional development, keeping staff up to date with any changes and innovations in their sector.

To be able to offer opportunities for workers to learn new, highly-desired and transferable skills can set your business apart from the competition at a time when everyone is fighting to obtain the best talent.

Bethan Maund, Head of Apprenticeships at ACT, said:

Upskilling current staff is a productive and effective way to motivate a workforce, making them feel a valued part of the organisation offering them future aspirations and career progression.”

“From an employer perspective it provides businesses with a more skilled and qualified workforce increasing efficiency and longevity.”

The Talent Trends report also found that companies whose employees learn on-the-job skills have higher retention rates.

An example showed two companies both with 5,000 employees. It showed that at the three-year mark, the company that did not offer skills opportunities to employees saw a retention rate of 66 per cent, while the company that did saw a rate of 70 per cent. While this may not seem like a hugely significant number, it actually equated to more than 200 employees – think of how much work goes into hiring for 200 different roles.

ACT’s Head of People and Development Rebecca Cooper said:

“Organisations throughout the UK continue to face challenges in attracting, retaining and engaging employees. Simply put, labour market conditions are difficult and competitive with skills shortages being one of the biggest issues.

“Directly addressing and working with these challenges, ACT creates progression pathways for all roles within their business by utilising their raft of apprenticeship programmes.

“This smart and effective approach employs fully-funded programmes delivered by ACT and their partner providers to upskill and retain existing talent. Not only does this bridge some of the skills gaps we have seen emerge within the local labour market, but it enables ACT to effectively and efficiently grow our own talent for the future.”

If you are a Welsh employer, you and your employees could benefit from a range of services, and funding opportunities delivered by ACT, designed to inject talent and foster growth within your business.

Many of ACT’s programmes are fully funded by the Welsh Government and there are a range of courses in subjects from Accountancy and Digital Marketing to Social Media and Environment Management.

To find out more about ACT’s work-based training visit


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