Skilled roles hard to fill due to candidates’ lack of training

A lack of training in some sectors is leading to persistent skills gaps, new research suggests.

The annual Skills Survey from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) finds that these skills gaps are particularly prevalent in skilled trades such as chefs, plumbers and electricians. One in three vacancies in these areas were classified by employers as hard to fill.

Professionals were the next most likely group to have shortages, with employers struggling to fill one in five positions.

But despite training being the key to solving such skills gaps, most employers with hard-to-fill vacancies said they responded by spending more on advertising and recruitment (39%) or by trying new recruitment methods (32%) rather than investing more in training existing staff or by starting or expanding a trainee programme.

Jeremy Anderson, Chairman of Global Financial Services at KPMG and a UKCES Commissioner, says: “Some employers are outstanding at training their staff, but many are not. This has led to the development of so-called ‘skills potholes’ – areas, sectors or occupations which are suffering from deep, painful and persistent skills gaps. Like potholes they are often ignored, but risk making the road to economic recovery throughout the UK bumpier and slower than it needs to be.

“By encouraging employers to step up and take greater responsibility for the skills needs of their people we will help to align public and private investment in skills and fill in these potholes.”

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