Majority of UK businesses are struggling to meet objectives due to skills shortage

Research conducted by Reed Talent Solutions has found the ongoing skills crisis is putting UK businesses at risk. More than three quarters (77%) of senior managers state there’s a significant gap between the skills held by their workforce and those needed to meet business goals. To tackle this pressing issue, Reed Talent Solutions has launched its recruit, train, deploy programme.

Adding to the struggle for UK organisations is the fact recruiting talent has become significantly more challenging, with seven-in-10 businesses claiming they are finding it harder to recruit now compared to previous years. The top reason behind the struggle is a lack of candidates with the right skills and knowledge for the role (60%).

Louise Reed, Solutions Director at Reed Talent Solutions, said: “It’s no secret the UK employment market is suffering from an ongoing skills shortage, but this research really highlights the depth of the problem. The UK employment market is trying its best to recover from labour shortages caused by Brexit, the pandemic, and the Great Resignation.

“To exacerbate the struggle, the incessant inflation, political uncertainty and global macroeconomic challenges have further heightened the skills gaps crisis, adding even further strain on UK businesses.”

There is also a concerning digital skills gap, with nearly a quarter (23%) of businesses currently lacking in computer and digital literacy.

“The technological boom has brought forward the importance of digital skills. Businesses need to look at ways they can reskill their existing workforce and new talent to meet the demands we are currently witnessing in the employment market,” added Louise.

Masses of unemployed people struggling to find work

Reed Talent Solutions’ research also questioned 1,000 adults not in work, revealing there’s a largely untapped workforce available and looking to return to work. Half of those surveyed would consider going back into employment if they could find a job with the flexibility to fit around their current situations.

However, a quarter of people (27%) didn’t feel they have the right skills to be able to enter the workplace. Out of those people, 39% felt they needed greater digital/computer literacy skills, while 22% said they needed more customer service skills.

What is more concerning is the majority looking for employment (91%) said they were struggling to find a job, with over two-thirds (69%) claiming they don’t have the right skills or qualifications.

Louise adds: “While organisations are struggling to recruit and fill the widening skills gap, there’s still a large talent pool struggling to find work. By tapping into this market and offering skills programmes, businesses can start to solve their recruitment and retention problems.

“Unfortunately, less than a third of employers offer incentives such as internal mobility schemes, older workers initiatives or returners programmes. And while the ‘Back to Work Budget’ implemented by the government has good intentions, businesses need to delve deeper to offer what people want and support their return to work if we’re going to make a difference.

“For instance, we found nearly two-fifths (38%) of candidates are struggling to find a role as the hours don’t match what they need. Businesses may need to break away from what they know, such as the typical 9-5 model, in order to unlock a new pool of workers.”

As expected, aside from salary, the majority (87%) selected flexible working as one of their top three priorities when it came to choosing a new role. Remote and/or home working came in second (44%), with pension options coming in third at 19%. Training and upskilling opportunities was the fourth most chosen priority at 16%.

To tackle the ongoing skills shortages, Reed Talent Solutions has launched its recruit, train, deploy solution, providing individuals with futureproofed careers through ongoing skills development programmes and organisations with the skilled workforce they need for successful business growth.

“As it stands, less than half (49%) of businesses say they are upskilling to tackle the current skills shortage; this simply isn’t enough. We designed recruit, train, deploy to tackle this by helping business leaders to adapt and develop new strategies to attract, prepare, train and retain new talent. 

“We need to make sure we are sustainably working towards a workforce that is ready for the jobs of the future. Upskilling has never been so important,” concluded Louise.

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