Last updated: 26.01.15

Skills shortages 'big concern' for UK bosses

Skills shortages in the UK are a great concern for UK leaders, despite increased confidence about their business's growth prospects, according to new research.

The survey of 1,322 chief executives worldwide, conducted by PwC, revealed that 84 per cent of British bosses are concerned about the availability of people with the required skills - marking a year-on-year increase of 20 per cent.

It was found that UK leaders are significantly more worried about the skills shortage than their global peers, with just 37 per cent of French bosses listing it as their biggest concern, along with 54 per cent of those in Germany and 53 per cent of Spanish leaders.

Despite these figures, the survey also revealed that 95 per cent of UK leaders are confident that their business will grow significantly over the next three years - higher than the 92 per cent global confidence level.

Some 67 per cent of UK bosses said that the government should work to bridge the skills gap and provide help in ensuring workforces become adaptable and skilled, while 26 per cent believe the government has already done this.

Advances in digital technology were another area of concern highlighted from the survey, with 59 per cent of chief executives in the UK feeling uneasy about the increasing rate of technological change.

Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner of PwC, said: "A keen focus for UK CEOs is how the UK develops the right skills to compete globally. Our survey again highlights the pressing need for the government, business and education sectors to work together to enable the UK to prosper in the long-term.

"There has been good progress with apprenticeship schemes, but we need to build on this success to ensure that skills and opportunities are matched."

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