Last updated: 25.02.14

Employers 'investing in staff' to address skills shortages

There was growth in both the numbers of permanent and temporary job appointments in the first month of 2014, as companies continued to invest in staff as a means of addressing the skills shortages facing the UK economy.

According to the latest report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, vacancies are rising at their fastest pace since May 1998 as employers seek to bring in more staff. But training these new recruits and existing employees remains a key goal.

Tom Hadley, of the recruitment organisation, explained that all regions are seeing booms in industries such as construction and engineering, but that companies are struggling to find people with adequate skills.

On the plus side for employees, it means that those who are trained appropriately are in a position to benefit from growing permanent starting salaries and hourly pay rates as a result of this bottled-up demand.

For businesses, it is often more cost-effective to train up staff rather than paying a higher-rate for individuals who already have these skills, and there are numerous courses available online that allow employees to brush up and learn new skills across a variety of sectors. Virtual College provides just such learning resources, with over 300 different vocational courses designed to assist the development of the UK workforce in a range of industries.

Mr Hadley said: "The report shows many of the latest in-demand roles are being sought by employers looking to invest in staff to build their businesses, including customer service, marketing and sales roles, although there are skills shortages across all sectors.

"This again underlines just how critical the issue of skills shortages is becoming, as businesses will not be able to contribute to economic growth if they cannot find the skilled workers they need."

He suggested that the solution to this is, at least in part, to develop careers guidance that is "fit for purpose" and actually raises awareness of which sectors face the biggest potential for growth with the right skilled staff.