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Employers must engage 'forgotten talent pool', says HSBC head of emerging talent

Businesses must take practical steps to connect with young jobseekers if they are to fill skills gaps, according to HSBC's head of emerging talent in Europe, John Morewood.

Morewood was commenting on a survey of 616 UK business leaders, conducted by HSBC and the Prince's Trust. It found that 32% of organisations have skills gaps at entry-level positions.

Just over one-third (35%) are concerned the crisis is so bad it could force the closure of their business.

Morewood told HR magazine building effective work programmes for young people is key for all parties.

"There's a forgotten talent pool of people who don't necessarily go to university but have skills very appropriate to business," he said. "Business, charities like the Prince's Trust and the Government must form closer ties to ensure these people can gain employment and companies have access to the skills."

The Prince's Trust has launched Movement to Work, with HSBC and 14 other companies including Marks & Spencer and Accenture. The charity's director of funding Tanya Leathers told HR magazine top employers in the programme go beyond recruiting for their own workforce and engage others.

"The best companies use their influence to persuade their supply chain to get involved too," she said. "It has to be about more than individual organisations. No one party can solve this, which is why we're trying to get everyone to work together."