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Life-long learning is the solution to chronic skills shortages - IoD

29 Jan 2016

The Institute of Directors has responded to this year’s UKCES Employer Skills Survey which warned that employers are facing a huge challenge to fill vacancies, and said that the findings highlight the importance of life-long learning.

Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy, said:

“In this tightening labour market, with record numbers of people in work and the lowest jobseekers-to-vacancies ratio in over a decade, skills shortages present a growing worry for employers. Addressing the skills gap is of vital importance. Access to skills is the number one concern for IoD members and a recent survey of our start-ups, the IoD 99, shows the skills shortage is their top barrier to growth.

“Businesses are committed to training and developing their staff, but with demand for skills on the rise, we need to make sure that the apprenticeship levy has the flexibility required for firms to continue to train according to their needs. In the short-term, the Government needs to ensure that employers can continue to get access to the skills they need from abroad. In the longer run, schools need to get careers guidance right so that young people and parents are aware of the opportunities in new and emerging sectors of the economy.

“That training levels have remained broadly consistent is positive given the constraints businesses have faced in recent years. As the UKCES survey points out, around 90% of the current labour force have the potential to be active in work a decade from now. The economy cannot rely on the next generation alone to fill skills gaps. We must also prepare the existing workforce for the jobs of the future. With the continuously changing nature of jobs, Government, employers, and educators need to look at developing and facilitating life-long learning so that workers can retrain and up-skill to meet the needs of employers today, and tomorrow.”

* In a survey of IoD members conducted in May 2015, 38% said that skills shortages were having a negative impact on their business.

** In a survey of the IoD 99, entrepreneurs under the age of 40, 42% said that skills shortages were a barrier to growth.

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