83% of UK CEOs are ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about access to high skilled talent, according to PwC’s latest annual survey.
Concerns about the availability of key skills came second only to uncertain economic growth as a prevalent issue for UK CEOs.
These results come amidst concerns that technology will drive a demand from low-skill occupations to higher-skill roles, and if current trends continue, the UK will have a total of 15 million high-skill jobs by 2022, leaving a deficit of three million high-skilled workers.
According to the Government’s State of the Nation Report, a drop in requirements for low-skilled workers over the same period could see nine million people fighting for just four million jobs.
The Open University urges that change is needed to ensure progression from low to higher skilled occupations. Steve Hill, External Engagement Director at The Open University, comments: “As we consider what the heralded Industry 4.0 means for our future workforce needs, there is certainly encouragement from the fact that our economy is seeing growth in high-skill areas.
“But the shape of our labour force must change to meet business requirements. We need to consider fully the impact on individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole if we fail to open up opportunities for progression to those currently locked into low-skill roles. Training options which extend beyond the classroom, such as higher and degree apprenticeships, have a key part to play, since they give individuals a chance to learn relevant, work-based skills whilst earning.
“Creating a high-skill workforce across the UK is key to boosting growth in all regions, particularly those that are currently suffering the severest skills shortages. By taking full advantage of the flexibility afforded by supported online learning delivery, businesses can access the highest-quality training material for their employees, no matter where they are based in the country.
“Alongside the spread of options such as the degree apprenticeship, which offer individuals a new pathway to higher skills, it is the flexibility and quality at scale that online learning can offer which will help to redress the skills mismatch our country is set to face.”