CIPD: Almost three quarters of British businesses believe the UK will be in the grips of a skills crisis within the next three years, according to new research. The report, by The Prince’s Trust in partnership with HSBC, found that a third of organisations are experiencing skills shortages at entry level, while over half are unable to fill vacancies.
Of the 616 UK firms questioned for the report, 68 per cent were concerned a skills shortage would slow economic growth, while 35 per cent feared it would cause their business to fold.
Further findings revealed that 72 per cent of business leaders believe recruiting young people is crucial in avoiding a skills crisis, yet 71 per cent admit that jobless young people still face stigma and negative stereotyping from employers.
To avert a future skills crisis, The Prince’s Trust is urging employers to invest in vocational training for unemployed young people.
“It is deeply concerning that employers are struggling to fill vacancies when we have hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people desperate for work,” said Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust.
Katerina Rüdiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the CIPD said today’s findings echoed much of the key research under the CIPD Learning to Work programme.
“We agree that greater employer engagement with young people is vital, not only to help overcome youth unemployment but also to ensure that organisations have the talent they need to succeed,” she said.
The economic recovery so far has allowed 63 per cent of businesses to grow faster than this time last year, the report found. However, two thirds believed that faster growth will cause skills gaps within their organisations, with 45 per cent concerned about an ageing workforce.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that the fact that employers now had more influence over the design, delivery and assessment of courses and qualifications, was having a real impact.
“Latest figures show that the number of 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training is at the lowest level since 2005,” he said.
“This indicates that more and more young people that were previously held back from reaching their full potential are now in work or developing skills that will allow them to become valued employees.”
Rudiger highlighted the CIPD’s Steps Ahead Mentoring programme as one example of how employers are already helping to address the issue.
“The creation of suitable access routes, such as apprenticeships, traineeships, graduate schemes and school leaver programmes is one part of the solution, but employers can also play a role in supporting young people transition successfully from education to work by helping to prepare them,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the UK’s lack of young talent has made headlines. Last month, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) also warned that jobs and skills shortages werethreatening economic growth.