FSB uncovers a growing skills gap as small firms’ confidence hits an all-time high
The latest Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Small Business Index shows a growing skills shortage in the workplace. Now identified as a significant barrier to growth for small firms, almost one third (29.9%) of those surveyed report skills shortages as hampering growth, with construction and computer services particularly hard hit.
To address this increasingly significant issue facing the UK labour market, the FSB wants to see a number of steps taken:
The business and education community must work more closely together to ensure young people are ‘work ready’ and understand the demands of the world of work. Employability skills must be embedded from an early age; the labour market has changed dramatically in recent years and businesses are adapting to that change but the education system needs to catch up.
Reforms must be completed to create a business-led, high quality apprenticeship system that provides a real choice between vocational and academic routes. This should be for the long term, and aspire to match standards of our leading competitors such as Germany.
Despite the challenges around skills, the survey of almost 2,500 businesses shows confidence at a record high with year-on-year gains seen across the whole of the UK, led again by London and the South East. Confidence remains weaker in other parts of the UK such as the North West. Professional services and technology continue to display the strongest optimism, with significantly good news around the manufacturing sector.
The report shows investment intentions remain strong. FSB believes business investment helps to boost productivity, which in turn feeds through into higher wages and living standards.
Key findings show:
John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“Despite the emergence of a skills shortage, these results show small firms are still feeling very confident, with every intention to invest and grow. This will provide further momentum to the recovery, especially in terms of jobs growth.”
Full press release on www.fsb.org.uk
Connect with ADVO Group