Is there a skills gap in the UK?

A majority of employers in the UK (87%) currently struggle to recruit the staff they need, according to a poll of 500 senior decision makers from a range of organisations. 

City & Guilds found that these companies are facing a skills gap as the competition for talented candidates intensifies and this is likely to have increased with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017.

The research demonstrated employers need to think more laterally about recruitment to close the skills gap, such as building relationships with local schools and colleges, so they can inspire young people to work for them in the future.

Companies in the UK can also think about upskilling their current workforce to give them more transferable skills, which is something we strive to help firms achieve.

Employers are still optimistic about the impact Brexit will have on recruitment though with 26% saying they don’t believe it will affect their business’ ability to attract and hire the right people. Another 42% told City & Guilds that leaving the EU wouldn’t have a negative impact. 

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds said: “There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the economy following the Brexit vote – particularly in relation to the skills gap, and the impact of any restrictions to the number of any restrictions to the number of EU workers in the UK.” But nearly half of companies in London (48%) expect Brexit to have a positive impact on the talent pool. 

Following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017, many of the companies polled feel that they intend to increase the number of the apprentices they recruit (31%), another 47% feel it is a great way to pay for training and upskilling their workforce, 43% feel it gives companies more control over the apprenticeship system and 34% feels it increases the quality of potential staff.

Despite this, those employers who struggle to recruit people to fill the needs of their business, apprentice jobs are harder to fill than graduate jobs, with 29% struggling to fill apprentice roles and 22% graduate ones. These companies may struggle to close the gap.

This is where City & Guilds come in. Whether you’re looking to recruit an apprentice, gain accreditation for your training or upskill your workforce, City & Guilds can help.