January 23, 2015

Concern rises over skills shortage in the UK

Business leaders in the UK say one of their biggest worries is a shortage of skilled workers, according to a new PwC report.

PwC published their Annual Global CEO Survey this week ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The proportion of British respondents who said they were concerned about a skills shortage stood at 84%, up from 64% last year.

This compares to 73% of CEOs globally who said they were concerned about their countries' skill levels. Meanwhile, only one in four UK bosses believe that the government has created a skilled and adaptable workforce.

Speaking at this year's World Economic Forum, Chairman of PwC UK Ian Powell said: "Our survey again highlights the pressing need for the government, business and education sectors to work together to enable the UK to prosper in the long-term.

"There has been good progress with apprenticeship schemes, but we need to build on this success to ensure that skills and opportunities are matched."

IZA World of Labor authors have written about skill building from a number of angles. Robert Lerman argues why investing in apprenticeships is economically beneficial to firms. He discusses how training apprentices ensures that they have mastered a common set of skills, whilst substantially lowering overall recruitment and training costs.

Jochen Kluve writes about how to create comprehensive labor market programs for young people. He advocates a mix of training, placement services, counseling, and job-search assistance, which should be implemented early in the education system.

Meanwhile, Abdurrahman B. Aydemir discusses the effects of skill-based immigrant selection. He describes this type of selection as a simple way to fill skills shortages, but says that it should be accompanied by economic integration policies to ease the transfer of foreign human capital.

Read more here.