The new SKILLS crisis

The last few weeks has seen many operators complain about the difficulty in finding enough available talent to fill vacant roles.

There are reports emerging that 50% of businesses are reporting they can not find enough skilled workers for their vacancies.

This may all seem strange at a time when unemployment is high and expected to remain above pre-pandemic levels until 2024. The contradiction, therefore, is that there is no labour shortage but there is a skills shortage.

Interestingly enough, the issue is not simply at grassroots levels.

According to The Open University Business Barometer 2020, two in five employers said they are struggling to recruit staff with leadership skills, while 38% are failing to find candidates with the right managerial skills.

Is this going to change in the short-term? Probably not but it is once again changing the approach towards talent with over 60% of companies now seeking to invest more into training, development and retention. 

Naturally enough many are pointing towards Brexit and how this problem was simply not focused on enough during 2020. Maybe but regardless, the pandemic has changed the working landscape and it will force employers to have to work harder to retain talent.

It is certainly causing no little short-term pain but arguably in the long term may prove to be a good thing as all the indicators are that companies are returning to old base pillars of 1-2% of payroll to be invested into training and development programmes.

In new strategies being developed for the retention of talent and companies creating new, proactive approaches to recruitment. Companies recognise they are going to have to work harder to recruit talent and already are investing. Leaders accept that more needs to be done in order to develop future leaders. 

The hard truth was that things needed to change pre-pandemic and the pandemic and Brexit as a combination is forcing change now. All knew this would be a painful period.

The challenge was perhaps underestimated but now is becoming understood – so how all adapt will answer how soon the shortages and challenges will be solved.