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UK Plc Rates Skills Gap As Greatest Threat To Growth

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The UK's business leaders are acutely concerned about a lack of 'key skills' in their workforces that is needed for growth. They are rating this shortage as the biggest threat to their prospects and calling on the government to place priority on initiatives - such as apprenticeships - aimed at fostering specific skills.

A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOS released today reveals that this concern about the availability of key skills worries UK business leaders more than any of their Western European counterparts.

Mining, energy, engineering and construction companies report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.

Nearly two-thirds of the UK's CEOs (65%) say their growth prospects are at stake. Three out of four said "creating and encouraging a skilled workforce should be the government's highest priority for the year ahead."

By contrast, filling talent gaps isn't high on the agenda of plc's own immediate investment priorities - only a third of UK CEOs view this as a major priority in the year ahead. Some 70% of respondents said they planned to increase investment in their workforce over the next three years.

Since the government became focused on the lask of representation of women at senior levels in business, the debate has broadened to consider all those sectors which tend not to attract women at intake level - including the ones mentioned above. There are now multiple initatives underway across industry sectors both to educate the school-leavers and make the career profiles of entering different sectors more appealing. 

This latest survey suggest there needs to be further co-ordination between business and government in tackling the issue. But the onus is also on business - in tackling its skills gap it may well be able to tackle its gender equality policies, achieving a classic 'two for one' bargain. (this is me, not PwC as far as I am aware not having seen whole report)

Laura Hinton, human resources consulting partner at PwC says: "At a time when growth is top of all businesses' agenda, investment in employee training should be a key priority for CEOs for the year ahead rather than a long-term aspiration."

Because the problem ain't going to sort itself.

For a copy of the full report contact Amy Tiernan on amy.tiernan@uk.pwc.com or +44(0)207 804 0556

Categories: Training, Appointments, Corporate