UK suffering one of worst skills shortages in Europe, says study

The UK’s economic recovery is exposing skills shortages across multiple industries, according to a study by recruitment firm Hays.

Its annual Global Skills Index found in Europe only Spain, Portugal and Ireland have greater skills shortages in the UK. Job opportunities in industries such as oil and gas, energy, IT and construction have grown over the past year but the necessary skilled employees are not available locally, Hays said.

To fix the problem in the short-term the study has called for the UK’s immigration policies to be geared towards attracting skilled workers.

Hays’ chief executive, Alistair Cox, said while it’s easy to blame the recession for this crisis, Government and industries should be doing more to develop “the right talent”. “The fact is, there is more that Government’s and businesses can and should do in order to develop the right talent pipeline and assure their future prosperity,” said Cox.

“The supply of people with the right skills is the foundation for every successful organisation and finding the right person for a job can transform businesses, people’s lives and make societies stronger,” he said.

Global talent crisis

The study also showed the global economy is facing a talent crisis with 18 out of 30 leading economies facing some form of skills shortages. It found there is no clear link between economic performance and labour market efficiency, it said that employment and educational policies, not economic conditions are the keys to tackling the global “talent mismatch”.

The Hays Index creates a score for each country of between 0 and 10 to measure the constraints and frictions being faced by its market for skilled labour.

This is analysed through an analysis of key areas such as education levels, labour market flexibility and high-skill wage pressures.

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