V4B Business Finance

SMEs hit by £145,000 skills shortage

British businesses are facing a £145,000 skills shortage over the coming year with business advisors warning firms to upskill employees or risk added costs from reduced productivity.

The skills gap – the difference in skills required within an organisation and the actual skills possessed by an organisation’s workforce – is one of the most pressing issues facing UK businesses today.

The findings, from a study completed by recruitment specialist Robert Half, show that 59% of SMEs believe that a recession would negatively impact their organisation’s skills gap. A worrying thought as the country heads towards Brexit.

Business leaders are using counteroffers, training and flexible recruiting to reduce voluntary turnover.

The causes of the shortage have been blamed on a variety of issues including a shrinking talent pool due to Brexit, increased digitalisation and economic influences.

Skills needed to help close the gap include data analysis and digital skills, as well as softer skills such as resilience, adaptability to change and critical thinking.

Three in five (59%) of businesses surveyed said that a recession would negatively impact the skills gap in their business, followed by Brexit (47%). However, a quarter of SMEs (26%) said Brexit would have no impact on their skills gap at all, while nearly half (47%) said the same about a General Election before 2020.

Some business leaders are already taking measures to reduce the skills gap in their workforce.

Nearly two thirds (63%) intend to train and upskill existing staff to address it, followed by hiring permanent staff (42%) and hiring temporary staff (27%). According to the 2020 Salary Guide, the majority (94%) of CFOs believe they need to develop the resilience of their teams to ensure employees continue to thrive during the current geo-political climate.

Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half UK, said: “Our analysis shows the skills gap can impact the bottom line. For SMEs, the priority for the next year should be identifying and filling gaps within their organisation.

“For those looking to hire, SMEs will need to act quickly to secure top talent and adopt a flexible hiring strategy. The solution to the war for talent is a blend of permanent, temporary and interim employees.”

The website smallbusinessprices.co.uk has produced a UK skills map showing which locations are suffering the largest skills shortages

What is your business doing to tackle a potential skills shortage? For advice on alternative finance to fund a recruitment drive or to grow your business contact V4B Professions on 01978 668 939 or visit our website www.v4bprofessions.co.uk

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