Employers were alarmed by research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that ranked English teenagers amongst the worst in the developed world for literacy and numeracy. Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“These findings from the OECD are very worrying. As the report shows, England has nine million people of working age with low literacy or numeracy skills. This comes in the same week that the UKCES Employer Skills Survey found that 23% of UK vacancies are hard to fill because of skills shortages, with demand for skills up 130% on five years ago.
“Employers need the right talent and skills to continue to grow. The OECD report, which is based on 2012 data, does conclude that many of the recent reforms brought in by Government – tougher GCSEs, rules that teenagers must now stay in education or training until they are 18, and the abolition of dozens of less relevant vocational qualifications – will likely have a positive affect and improve standards. But Government must also look at increasing the retention rates and recruitment of teachers, especially in the vital shortage areas like science and maths.”