The UK is facing a skills shortage crisis, which has been cited as a major barrier to economic growth. How will this affect staff training?

Businesses are struggling to recruit the right talent, and a lack of staff training for their existing employees is hindering growth across sectors. In fact, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned that this skill gap is the ‘biggest risk’ currently facing UK business.

Businesses ‘must do more’ to train and invest in employees

The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey reported muted economic growth for the last quarter of 2017, based on the responses of 7,000 businesses. It also revealed that 71% of hiring service sector firms, and 75% of manufacturing firms, had difficulties recruiting.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, highlighted the need for staff training in order to kickstart the economy: “Labour and skills shortages are set to be the biggest potential drag anchor on business in 2018, since ultimately it is people that make businesses work. Business itself must do more – by training and investing wherever possible in people.” He added that the government should also do more to encourage confidence, so that businesses feel confident enough to invest.

Promising signs

Since the report was published at the end of last year, it seems businesses have indeed responded by providing more staff training. The BCC’s subsequent report in Q1 of 2018 showed that investment in training was going up. The manufacturing sector’s investment in training went up from +19% in the previous quarter to +22%. In the service sector, it increased from +15% to +18%.

Last year, a study by the Open University found that over half of employers were unable to find candidates with the necessary skills, choosing instead to hire at a lower level. More than half of them said they were using staff training to upskill new employees.

These are promising signs. But employers will need to take a long-term view in order to protect their businesses from the financial impact of the skills shortage. Upskilling staff is a vital part of this, as is taking measures to reduce staff turnover.

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How to reduce staff turnover

Good benefits, flexible working and a culture that promotes employee wellbeing can go a long way in retaining your talent. Managers are another important means through which companies can reduce turnover. The old phrase “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers,” was given credence in a 2015 survey by B2B Marketplace, which found that 42% of respondents had left a job because of problems with their managers.

Training your managers to motivate, develop and coach their teams – as well as resolve conflicts – will make employees feel valued, and give them a chance to grow their careers within the business. To find out more about the benefits of building a comprehensive training plan for your organisation, read our blog Why Invest in your Staff Training?

How we can help

Here at Knight’s, we can help you choose the right staff training for your business. This includes industry-specific mandatory training, specialist courses and a wide range of business skills training. Get in touch to find out how our experts can help you develop and retain your best assets. Use the form below or call us on 0207 112 8412.