Skills shortages may hamper economic growth

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Half of UK businesses have said they are looking at employing extra staff during 2015 in line with the continuing economic recovery, yet skills shortages could stop them filling those jobs.

A joint survey of 323 companies by Accenture and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said there would be job creation across the country, yet there are concerns from those firms that they will not be able to recruit the right people.

Katja Hall of CBI said that the skills gap in Britain is the “number one workforce threat to the long-term health of its economy” as businesses plan to “create jobs in every region of the UK” during 2015.

Whilst the outlook is positive for 2015, Olly Benzecry, managing director of Accenture warned: “We must make sure we have workers with the skills required to drive the UK’s competitiveness”.

Unemployment at lowest level since 1971

Data released in line with the report showed that unemployment fell by 63,000 to 1.96 million between August and October 2014 and the highest number of people were in work (30.8 million) since records began on 1971.

Concerns over the lack of skilled applicants are prevalent across all sectors. Ministers are suggesting companies should develop thorough long term training schemes, warning that the introduction of apprenticeships has not been as successful as anticipated.

The survey found that staff training is at its highest level for 15 years as companies look internally rather than to the pool of jobseekers during times of growth.

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