Welcome rise in job vacancies, but skills shortages accelerate


The report from the government’s skills experts, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, finds that the number of job vacancies in England has returned to pre-recession levels. However, so-called “skills shortage vacancies” – where businesses cannot find recruits with the skills required – are growing twice as fast. The UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey interviewed over 90,000 employers between March and July 2013. They reported a total of 559,600 job vacancies in England – up 45% per cent from 2009. However, skills shortage vacancies nearly doubled over the same period, increasing from 63,100 to 124,800. Overall, skills shortage vacancies – which occur when employers cannot find people with the right skills and qualifications to do the job – now account for more than one in five of all vacancies (22%) up from one in six (16%) in 2009.

The report also finds that

  • Skills shortages are much more prevalent in some occupations and sectors than others – for example, in skilled trades such as plumbing and in health and social care.
  • The density of skills shortages varies across the UK, being most acute in Scotland, where 25% of vacancies are caused by skills shortages, and less of a problem in Northern Ireland, where they account for 19% of vacancies.
  • Nearly half of employers across the UK (48%) admit they recruit people with higher levels of skills and knowledge than required for the job.
  • The number of establishments providing training for their staff is back to pre-recession levels, although the amount spent on training has decreased from £1,680 per employee in 2011 to £1,590 in 2013.
  • Only a minority of business are prepared to give education leavers their first job, but when they do, they find their new recruits are generally well-prepared for work. College leavers are reported as more “work ready” than school leavers of the same age.

As published on www.ukces.org.uk