The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is urging employers in all sectors to start planning ahead to mitigate the risk of widespread skills shortages in the longer term.
This comes in the wake of the CIPD’s latest quarterly Labour Market Outlook has found that employment intentions are at their highest level for six and a half years.
The research released today shows that recruitment difficulties are higher in the public sector than in the private sector and employers report that the majority of vacancies they find hard to fill are highly skilled or skilled (71 per cent). Engineering roles are the hardest to fill, followed closely by management and executive roles, and the most common reason for difficulties filling vacancies is a lack of technical or job specific skills.
Encouragingly, more organisations plan to invest in their talent pipeline than in previous years, with around three in ten (31 per cent) employers that currently have hard to fill vacancies intending to hire more UK graduates, around one in five (22 per cent) planning to hire more apprentices and half (50 per cent) of such employers planning to up-skill existing staff in the next two years. The report concludes that employers need to ensure that they deliver on these intentions to invest in their talent pipeline in order to help offset future skills shortages.
Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser at the CIPD, said: “Against the backdrop of the prediction of strong employment growth, now is the time for employers to ensure that any future plans to increase business investment prioritises investment in training. This will not only help stave off the threat of recruitment difficulties increasing sharply in the future, but also help to boost productivity levels that we know are essential to the nation’s overall economic performance and therefore pay prospects.”
“Employers have all too often blamed government policy for skills shortages, when they often have more control and power over the future needs of their workforce. It’s therefore encouraging to see so many employers planning to invest in their workforce now, rather than risk paying a premium for talent when the economy picks up further and skills shortages begin to spread.
“But investing in your workforce is not all about recruitment – employers should also be thinking about how they design job roles that will meet the changing needs of the business and up-skill existing staff to fill those roles. Where new recruits are needed, employers would benefit from working more closely with education providers to ensure that school leavers, apprentices and graduates entering the labour market have the skills and capabilities businesses need.”