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How to remain competitive in light of the skills shortage

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Monday 27th Oct, 2014

In recent months, much media attention has been given to the skills shortage many industries are currently facing.

Here, we're going to look at what exactly this is and how umbrella and limited company contractors can ensure that they remain competitive in the jobs market in light of the situation.

What is the skills shortage?

Following the hard-hitting recession, most sectors are now getting back on their feet thanks to the steady recovery of the economy which has led to increased productivity and output. This has in turn amplified the demand for a larger workforce.

However, companies are often finding that while there may be plenty of applicants for each role, candidates do not necessarily possess the high level of skills needed for the job.

This is particularly the case when it comes to filling permanent positions, which could be good news for contractors, as they can take advantage of the recruitment gaps by taking on such roles on a temporary basis.

Figures from a report published earlier this year by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which questioned 91,000 employers, show 22 per cent of vacancies in 2013 were left unfilled due to a lack of talented applicants.

The report stated: "There has been an increase in the proportion of skill shortage vacancies resulting from a lack of communication skills - particularly oral communication (41 per cent, up from 37 per cent in 2011), as well as a lack of literacy (34 per cent, up from 28 per cent in 2011) and numeracy skills (26 per cent, up from 24 per cent)."

Coveted skills

It is not only academic talent that firms feel prospective employees are lacking, but also practical skills within their specialist field.

For instance, data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's July JobsOutlook report shows one-third of employers predict there will be a shortage of skilled engineers to fill both permanent and temporary vacancies in the near future.

In addition, within the ever-changing IT industry, candidates with up-to-date knowledge of the latest technology are highly sought after.

The results of a Harvey Nash CIO survey published earlier in 2014 showed the global IT sector could face a widespread digital skills shortage if applicants do not have adequate abilities.

Chairman of global CIO practice at the firm Dr Jonathan Mitchell stated: "To be successful, organisations will not only need a clear technology strategy, but they will also need the right people to deliver it."

However, these are just two of the divisions facing a potentially-hindering skills shortage - such concerns are prevalent across all industries while the UK

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