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Skills shortage 'to get worse': What can contractors do?

Kerry Hull

Kerry Hull | Marketing Manager

Monday 20th Aug, 2018

Three-quarters of UK recruiters believe the nation's skills shortage will worsen over the next two years. How can limited company contractors use this to their advantage?

Recruiters have arguably been much harder hit by the ongoing skills shortage in the UK than the nation's limited company contractors and freelancers.

According to a recent survey carried out by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of recruitment professionals believe that the current skills shortage is only going to get worse over the next two years.

What are the influencing factors behind this? And how can limited company contractors continue to use the situation to their advantage? Let's take a look.

Why recruiters believe the UK skills shortage is getting worse

The figure of 74 per cent is just the average; when it comes to the recruitment of highly skilled workers, 87 per cent of hirers believe it will only become more challenging to find suitable candidates with certain knowledge and expertise.

What's more, almost half (47 per cent) of recruiters think it will be harder to recruit skilled graduates in the near future.

This means more and more businesses are finding themselves with gaps in their workforce, which could be costing them in terms of productivity and affecting their overall performance in the market.

There are multiple factors behind these growing struggles. Roger Tweedy, Director of Communications at APSCo, explained: "It's no surprise that recruitment leaders today are anticipating further skills shortages over the next few years.

"Competitive job markets, coupled with growing demand for specialist skills, means we are seeing firms struggle to make the hires they need.

"The scarcity of skills is increasingly becoming a risk to business growth and, with Brexit on the horizon, there are widespread fears that access to talent could become even more squeezed."

How can limited company contractors use the skills shortage to their advantage?

Naturally, a widespread shortage of skills means there are plenty of vacancies available across the UK jobs market. While some will be for temporary contract roles that are perfect for limited company contractors, others will be for permanent workers. However, this doesn't mean that contractors shouldn't put themselves forward for these positions.

Getting in touch with recruiters and explaining how they could add value to a company over a short-term period by providing access to their skillset could be what hirers struggling with the skills shortage need to hear.

Contractors and freelancers should also keep an eye out for which skills come up time and time again on job applications. These are likely to be the ones most in-demand that recruiters are struggling to find, so it could be a good idea for limited company contractors to look at upskilling themselves in these areas.

For example, attending training courses or spending time in between contracts working on new skills would be a good way for contractors to make sure they are presenting themselves as highly skilled and as attractive as possible to recruiters in the future.

If completing assignments and upskilling sounds like a lot to juggle all at once, then PayStream's limited company service, My PSC, is here to help. By providing advice and support with the administrative side of running a limited company, it relieves the admin burden associated with running a limited company and frees up valuable time that can be used for things like adding value to their skillsets and their clients.