Businesses across the country are struggling to find the talent they need.
The 2019 Open University Business Barometer Report may make painful reading for some business leaders, with UK organisations spending £4.4bn as a result of the ongoing skills shortage. 68% of UK organisations report struggling to find skilled workers, and many see Brexit as a driving factor in the talent shortage. This growing challenge comes in the face of the lowest unemployment rates since the 1970s, with employers faced with a shrinking pool of available talent.
48% of business leaders report using temporary staff to tackle the skills crisis, while 44% spent more than intended on recruitment fees. There has also been a widespread increase in salaries in order to attract and retain workers. 38% of respondents said they had increased salaries to make roles more appealing.
However, there is some good news for UK businesses, as overall talent spend decreased on last year – a 30% drop on the £6.3bn reported in 2018. Organisations also seem to have turned their focus inwards, with 53% increasing their outlay on training and development (by an average of 10%) in order to upskill current workers.
David Willett, Corporate Direct at The Open University, responded positively to the renewed focus on upskilling, saying:
“It’s encouraging that employers are looking to invest in the talent of their existing workforce, with businesses increasingly turning to strategies that will serve their skills requirements for the years to come. While many are starting to focus more on building up skills from within, rather than buying them in, it is essential that training ultimately delivers results, while fitting around employees’ existing commitments.”
Brexit also remains front of mind for organisations across the country. 59% of senior business leaders believe that Brexit will further reduce access to skilled talent, while only 21% believe that the UK’s departure from the European Union will open up new opportunities for their organisation. However, as the skills shortage develops, it’s vital that leaders look to innovative talent solutions and remain agile enough to deal with a business landscape that is dominated by uncertainty.