From education to employment

Part One of Sudakshina Mukherjee’s Review of the LSC’s Skills Gap Report

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has recently released this year’s report on the skills sector and employers (the National Employer Skills Survey or [NESS]), which contains some interesting findings.

To start with, the survey was conducted through contacting 74,500 employers and its main findings include the proportion of businesses with skills gaps falling by six % (22 % to16 % between 2003 and 2005) and further that employers spent £33 billion on staff training and development in the last twelve months and nearly two thirds of businesses (65 %) provide employee training.

Skills Shortage Vacancies

According to the NESS05 report, 17% of the establishments surveyed have vacancies; only 7% surveyed have any hard-to-fill vacancies; 17% of all vacancies are unprompted Skills-Shortage Vacancies (SSVs); there are only 5% of establishments that have unprompted or prompted SSVs and in numbers it appears to be 7 in every 1000 employees.

The LSC report explains unprompted SSVs to be: “those vacancies that employers describe as hard to fill where the spontaneous reason cited is that recruits lack the experience, skills or qualifications required.” In terms of the skills gap, the report finds that 16% of establishments reported a skills-gap, compared to 22% in 2003; also that 6% of the staff surveyed are reported to have a skills-gap, compared to 11% in 2003.

Budget for Training

As far as training and activities to develop the workforce is concerned, the report finds that 65% of establishments are providing training to their staff over the previous 12 months; 46% of establishments have been providing off-the-job training in the previous 12 months. This year, 45% of establishments have a training plan, compared to 39% in 2003. However, only 33% of establishments are found to have a budget for training. Therefore, in numbers it appears that 609 employees are trained per every 1000 employees.

The report also contains a section called “Headline Findings,” which includes key discussions that were raised concerning the findings, which the NESS report has produced. These are, firstly, the incidence and extent of recruitment difficulties. Particularly allusions have been made to skills-related recruitment difficulties in the labour market, which show very little change in 2005, compared with 2004. Secondly, the proportion of establishments reporting any (unprompted) skill-shortage vacancies (SSVs) has remained unchanged at 4 % since 2001; should this be cause for concern?

Next, in 2005, employers experienced (unprompted) skill shortages among applicants for 17 % of all vacancies, equivalent to 5 (unprompted) SSVs per 1,000 employees. These exactly matched the figures for 2004. By comparison, skills-related recruitment difficulties were more intense in 2001, as employers then experienced (unprompted) skill shortages for 21 % of vacancies.

While skills-related recruitment difficulties affect relatively few employers -and the number of SSVs relative to employment is low- once prompted on the issue, employers indicated that they experience skill shortages among applicants for fully a quarter of all vacancies. The concerns also consist of a minority of employers being affected by skill gaps in their workforce (16 %) and overall a relatively small proportion of the total workforce (6 %) is described as not being fully proficient.

Sudakshina Mukherjee

Stay with FE News for the latest in FE!

Related Articles