Workplace of today hasn’t kept pace with technology, says minister

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Employers have not kept up to date with technology and have created a skills gap that is affecting employment, according to Jo Swinson, minister for employment relations and consumer affairs.

Swinson was speaking at the CIPD conference in Manchester, on a panel, which also included HR director of O2, Anne Pickering, CEO of the UK commission for employment, Michael Davis, and Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director at Siemens UK and North West Europe.

Swinson said: "Employers must be more innovative and offer benefits such as flexible working because the workplace of today hasn't kept pace with technology and some employers are out of date.

"Young people are not getting the right advice when applying for jobs, we need to offer them more support and it's in the employers' interest to resolve youth unemployment."

She added: "There is now a massive opportunity to truly engage with employees in the workplace."

Davis echoed these thoughts. "Employers need to step up and take greater ownership when up-skilling," he told delegates.

"The game has changed and getting into the labour market will be harder for younger people even as the economy picks up."

Pickering told the conference that she believed that the issue of skills shortage has risen because employers are not aware of what skills they actually need for future success. She said: "We have to accommodate young people not the other way round. We have a huge obligation to crack it for young people."

She continued: "They have the technology skills employers are missing, they are proven to be so much more innovative in their thinking."

She also said that apprenticeships were necessary for a successful future employment landscape. "We have to get over this 'apprenticeships aren't as good as university' idea," she said. "We need to get over ourselves."

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