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Report highlights ‘worrying’ lack of skilled workers

Some of the country’s key businesses are experiencing  a worrying lack of skilled workers, according to a report published today.

The UK Commission’s Employer Skills (UKCES) Survey interviewed over 74,000 businesses in England and found that, although skills shortages are not widespread, many mid-sized businesses are unable to employ the skilled staff they need.

According to the survey, while the proportion of business recruiting has increased from 12% in 2009 to 15% in 2011 ( the pre-recession level was 18%), mid-size establishments are the only firms to report an increase in the intensity of skills shortage vacancies.

UKCES Commissioner Neil Mc Lean highlighted the key role that mid-sized businesses can play in the country ‘s economic recovery, and expressed his worries  that England “is experiencing a skills squeezed middle”.

“As a group, these mid-sized firms are weathering the recession pretty well – indeed, they have continued to recruit over the past four years,” he said.

“They are undoubtedly our best hope for growth.  Yet these businesses are often overlooked by policymakers in favour of entrepreneurial start-ups or huge multi-nationals.”

He added: “We need to stop thinking about a one-size-fits-all approach to industrial strategy, and become much smarter at making sure limited public resources are used to best effect. What’s needed is an approach which targets these employers, giving them both the freedom and the support they need to create jobs to sustain growth.”

Apostolos Kostoulas

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