Last updated: 28.04.14

Mismatched talent costing £1.2bn a year

Economic growth in the UK is being undermined by a failure among employers to adequately retrain staff for new skills and industries, according to a new report, which suggests the cost of this "mismatched talent" is in excess of £1.2 billion a year.

According to the study, by financial giant PwC, this failure to create adaptability in the workforce is resulting in avoidable spending on the recruitment of new talent, as well as lost productivity among existing staff.

Its report, entitled Adapt to Survive, suggests that better retraining of staff to make the most of the skills of available workers could save more than £930 million a year. A further £270 million a year would then be saved as a result of no longer needing to find hire new staff to fulfill a function.

Despite this lost productivity, the research still suggests that of 11 countries analysed, the UK ranks second for workforce adaptability behind only the Netherlands. The research was commissioned by LinkedIn and ranked countries based on a number of criteria, including the rate at which workers in a given territory had switched job functions.

Overall, a strong correlation was identified between this adaptability and the success of a country's workforce, suggesting that firms may want to consider setting aside more in their budgets for retraining of staff - in order to save a greater amount in the long-run on recruitment and improved productivity.

Michael Rendell, partner and global head of HR services practice at PwC, said: "Businesses' growth strategies are changing and many UK CEOs recognise that they don’t currently have the right people with the right skills in the right places to achieve their aspirations."

In order to remedy this situation, he urged companies to work harder at matching talent to the most suitable opportunities available within their organisations.