There is a skills gap in the UK economy that costs companies over £2 billion a year.

The Open University study highlighted that, due to this, employers plan to change the training they offer.

Most significantly with more apprenticeships.

Yet, in the first quarter of 2018, growth in the British economy slowed to just 0.1 percent – and employers are being warned that the skills gap may be to blame

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The Cost of the Skills Gap – and How You Can Solve It

Simon Wood

By Simon Wood

There is a skills gap in the UK economy that costs companies over £2 billion a year.

The Open University study highlighted that, due to this, employers plan to change the training they offer.

Most significantly with more apprenticeships.

Yet, in the first quarter of 2018, growth in the British economy slowed to just 0.1 percent – and employers are being warned that the skills gap may be to blame

It is Far Harder to Find the Right Candidate Now

The skills gap is the gap between the roles and skills that employers are looking to hire, and the skills of people looking for jobs.

There are several factors that contribute to the misalignment of open positions with available, skilled workers.

The first is that the UK currently has its lowest unemployment rates in over ten years – so, there are less people out of work.

Secondly, those in your employment may be reluctant to leave: Due to uncertainty from Brexit – also a deterrent for EU nationals – who may have looked to work in the UK.

It Takes Longer to Fill Job Roles

75% of employers say that filling job roles has become a problem for them.

Companies are losing money through recruiting fees and the cost of temporary staff.

In addition, some skills are in more demand now then they were; particularly in highly specialised areas; such as technology and software development.

Of course, candidates with these skills are in high demand – and command a higher salary.

For both your businesses and the economy, the skills gap could lead to a lack of productivity, innovation and growth – as more jobs and industries become heavily dependant on digital skills that are in low supply.

“In order to navigate this changing landscape, you will need people who possess the right skills to maximise on digital resources. Unfortunately these individuals are paradoxically both in short supply and in incredibly high demand, creating an expensive and difficult dilemma for employers.”  

Onrec: 2018

The Steps Needed to Help Your Business

It may seem as though the skills gap is a problem to tackle.

Your business will be the first to feel the effects – so you should be proactive in becoming part of the solution.

Government must lead the way on this, but it will be up to both the businesses and the academic institutions across all levels to show commitment and support for government efforts to narrow the skills gap.”

 Uktech: 2018

An important step you should be taking is to assess the skills in your teams – to identify any gaps early. Once you have, you’ll know what to start focusing on.

Need any help identifying your skills gaps? Check out our free, quick and easy 5-step checklist to help you do just that!

Many businesses are already taking steps to building the skills they need for the future. With apprenticeships and internal training to help fill the gaps.

Admittedly, these provide a slightly more long term solution.

What should you do if you’re already feeling the effects of the skills gap in your business?

More People than Ever are Freelancing

Due to the growing ‘Gig Economy’, more and more highly skilled professionals are turning to freelance work.

“The new modern way of working for British industry is the answer to this problem. Employers are increasingly turning to contractors and freelancers to deliver the skills they need and that means there are a wealth of opportunities for self-employed people.”

DANBRO: 2018

Evidence shows that you’ll have a better chance increasing the speed of production by finding a contractor who fits your organisation than you will by up-skilling a full time employee. Here’s why:

  • Contract length – you set the contract to fit you and your projects.
  • High motivation – as their next job will depend on good reviews, contractors are often highly motivated.
  • Fast onboarding – contractors are used to coming into new organisations.
  • Reskilling – they’ll be self-driven to learn and sharpen their skills
  • In-house expert – working with together, contractors can help advance the skills of your existing teams.
  • Cost effective – the perceived cost risk of hiring contractors over permanent staff is slim (once you factor in benefits, pension schemes, holidays and so on).

By using contractors you are also giving these professionals the chance to build experience in their skills, and so encouraging them to grow and develop skills that are high in demand.

“Most high-demand careers need only minimal formal schooling to begin entry-level freelancing, and the portfolio of work and recommendations gained from working in the gig economy are at least as valuable as a degree or job training program.”

Quartz at Work: 2018

Match Your Team and Your Culture

At ClearHub, we have a global network of technical contractors.

When we match you, we look at the skills you need, and then use Smart Profiling to make sure they’re a powerful cultural fit for your team too.

Get Ahead of Your Competitors

Being aware of the skills gap, and being proactive about it early, gets you ahead of your competitors – by getting your products to market – fast!

But, it can also help to future-proof the growth of the economy.

With World Youth Skills Day coming up (July 15), this topic is more relevant than ever.

It is up to us as employers to help encourage young professionals to follow the career paths that will help our economy to grow.

And, by offering them the opportunities to learn – through work experience, apprenticeships, and freelance work – you can guarantee your company’s future alongside theirs.

Do you currently use technical contractors to fill your skills gaps? Leave a comment below –  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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