News & Analysis

Upskill now, before it’s too late

1st August 2022
Paige West

UK businesses are experiencing the knock-on effect of the on-going skills shortage and recruitment challenges.

This article originally appeared in the July'22 magazine issue of Electronic Specifier Design – see ES's Magazine Archives for more featured publications.

Complex issues such as COVID-19, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and rising business costs are only adding more fuel to the fire.

According to The Open University’s Business Barometer 2022, published in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce, more than two-thirds (68%) of SMEs are currently facing skills shortages. This rises to 86% for large organisations. As a result, more than three quarters (78%) are seeing reduced output, profitability, or growth.

This is impacting not only company growth and profitability, but staff morale and wellbeing is being affected also – almost three-quarters (72%) of organisations say the impact increases workload on other staff.

It is important, now more than ever, that companies have a long-term strategic approach to address the skills gap. Not only do they need to be focusing on recruitment processes but also on growing talent within – this will open up many opportunities.

As Viren Patel, Director of the Business Development Unit at the OU commented: “Through The Open University’s work with employers, we’ve seen how education can make a huge difference to workforce impact and diversity. Education is a huge enabler and has a vital role to easing and solving the skills shortage.”

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