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Central southern UK facing skills shortage

Looking to 2020, 40% of business owners in the South ?feel technical skills shortages will be a major issue

The central south of the UK will face a serious skills shortage in the next five years that is likely to hold back growth and prosperity, according to a whitepaper from law firm Trethowans.

Looking forward to 2020, 40% of business owners or managers based in the south of the UK felt that a shortage of technical skills will be a major or critical issue. More than half (52%) of HR respondents felt the same, and employees agreed (53%).

Workers were found to be concerned that their managers' lack of management skills and expertise is a major issue in their organisation (35%).

However, the majority (85%) of business owners and managers felt that management is doing its job properly. HR viewed this area in a similar way to the employees, with a high minority seeing it as a major or critical issue (42%).

Losing staff was cited as the biggest fear for owners and managers as they look to build their businesses towards 2020, with more than a quarter (28%) selecting this option.

Speaking at the whitepaper's launch event, senior partner at Trethowans Simon Rhodes said the research highlights the skills shortage facing the public and private sectors.

“It is already a key issue for the central south and the unanimous feeling across all three groups [bosses, employees and HR professionals] was that the skills gap will only get bigger,” he said. “The fact that all three groups consider this to be a major challenge should be an invitation to owners and managers, employees and HR teams to work more closely together to resolve it. Putting all three viewpoints into the mix would create more workable ideas to help staff retention and recruitment.”

However, he was disappointed that this rarely happens in a meaningful way. “It seems that all organisations – and the employment triangle relationships within them – would benefit from more innovation and flexibility,” he said. “The combined power of employer, employee and human resources needs to be better harnessed for the good of the staff and organisation as a whole."