UK talent shortage doubles in last decade


The UK's talent shortage has more than doubled since its lowest reported point in 2010 (9%), according to the latest Talent Shortage Survey by ManpowerGroup

The Closing the Skills Gap: What UK Workers Want in 2020 survey found that 23% of UK employers were unable to find the talent they needed last year.

Skilled trades such as electricians, welders, and mechanics topped the list of most in-demand roles, with jobs in healthcare, accounting and finance, management and teaching making the top five.

According to ManpowerGroup, the companies worst affected by talent shortages were larger companies of over 250 employees, of which over half (51%) reported talent shortages.

SMEs in the survey fared much better overall in seeking skilled talent, with only 21% of businesses with less than 10 employees reporting difficulties in filling roles.

In order to stem the shortage, Chris Gray, director of Manpower Group UK, said companies need to develop internal talent.

He said: “With growing talent shortages across the UK, it’s no longer a question of simply finding talent; we need to build it. Organisations need to be agile, and willing to stretch their candidate offering, increasing salaries isn’t enough of a differentiator anymore.”

This follows the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Recruitment Outlook that linked recruitment struggles in the last quarter of 2019 to a ‘critical skills shortage’ across the country, and pinpointed construction as one of the most impacted sectors.

Michelle Nettles, chief people and culture officer at ManpowerGroup, argued that businesses need to encourage a culture of learnability.

She said: “Our ability to continuously learn is the most important skill we’ll need to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“As leaders, it is our responsibility to foster a culture of learnability, which requires leaders to be coaches, increasing and accelerating career mobility and creating relevant and curated learning pathways, not one-size-fits-all.”

The survey collected the views of 1,000 employers in the UK.