The upskilling crisis & its potential consequences

Are you receiving upskilling opportunities at work? If so, you’re among the minority of UK professionals…

The UK is the nation that’s least likely to provide new training opportunities to its employees, according to PwC research.

  • 51% of UK employees are not offered the chance to retrain or develop new skills.
  • This is well below the global average of 26%.
  • In comparison, only 33% of American employees and 31% of Germans have not been reskilled.
  • The stats are all the more impressive in India and China, where the figures fall to 5% and 3% respectively.

The education gap

There is a disparity between those respondents who have undertaken further education (post-school) and those who haven’t. Graduates receive 15% more training opportunities.

This HR Magazine report reveals many more findings, including the worrying trend to overlook changing digital needs.

Employees clearly crave development opportunities. 54% feel prepared to ‘learn new skills or completely retrain’ to boost their employment potential; this figure rises to 67% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

You can read the PwC report in full via their website.

Warning: a lack of upskilling could lead to a lack of employees!

Over on Recruiting Times, we hear that the desire to learn something new tops the list of career priorities for the nation’s professionals.

  • 44.6% of employees want to develop a new skill
  • This beats the 43.5% who prioritise a pay rise
  • And the 22.7% who long for a new job title

40.1% are prioritising the ‘move to another company’. This group may well also increase in time, as 64.1% say their employer doesn’t respond to their needs and 83.2% intend to find a new job ‘to achieve their dreams’.

This could be of concern to many of the employers who are already facing a skills shortage. However, this may also increase the availability of skilled employees. Employers would certainly be wise to review their recruitment approach. Please call the office on 01225 313130 for some professional support.

We’ve only just shared the stats on the number of people looking to change jobs this month and throughout the coming year. Visit our jobs page for the latest opportunities. You’ll also find a number of skills-related topics linked in this article.



Future career changes

Young people expect to make multiple career changes in their working lives…

You won’t be surprised that the majority of young people expect to change jobs at least once during their careers. After all, it’s incredibly rare for large groups of people to work in the same roles and for the same companies forever.

However, almost 1/4 (23%) of young people also expect to make multiple career changes; in other words, also switching professions and/or industries rather than just jobs.

Considering their future career changes…

The above findings have been shared by Survation on behalf of the AAT. The pool consisted of just over 1000 16 to 24-year-olds (all considered as ‘Generation Z’).

They reveal that:

  • Nearly 1/3 (32%) of young people expect to make one to two job changes during their careers.
  • In addition, 23% expect to change their career path twice in future.
  • 14% of respondents think they’ll experiment with a greater number of professions, making three career changes.
  • Only 9% of people think they’ll work for the same company for their entire career. While 16% think they’ll at least remain on the same career path.

How they’ll prepare for their future roles:

  • It’s great to see that these respondents are prepared to take a proactive approach, with 52% saying they’d undertake a new qualification in order to progress their careers.
  • What’s more, 61% believe they’ll have to ‘upskill’ throughout their working lives. This is especially important as it so closely reflects the experts’ thoughts on the future of work and automation. Please see below for articles that further explore this topic.

The relevance of this data for employers:

As HR Magazine discusses, business and HR leaders will need to work hard to retain Generation Z employees. Especially the 43% that say they’d like to create their own business one day.

This may involve nurturing the creative potential of employees, so they feel able to challenge themselves and pursue their own ideas within the business.

Further reading for your future career and job skills:

  1. Future job skills & work portfolios for all: find out whether you possess the three most vital future job skills. Plus why you may want to create a work portfolio regardless of your job role.
  2. What employers want: six key skills that employers want to find in their future team members.
  3. Are you being upskilled at work? What to do if you aren’t receiving the opportunity to refresh your job skills.
  4. The top most wanted trainee skills: 10 abilities that will benefit trainees…and everyone else!
  5. The future skills framework: the major new taskforce set to decide which skills we’ll all need in future. Plus why students sre feeling unprepared for their careers.

Ready to discover your next job? Visit our vacancies page to apply for the latest openings. You can also upload your CV here.



The skills shortage continues

Employers struggle to recruit, as the skills shortage deepens…

Businesses are facing some major recruitment challenges, as revealed by ‘The Open University Business Barometer 2019‘.

At present, the UK is experiencing its highest total employment rate since 1971. The unemployment rate is also at its lowest level since 1974. This means that while there are still job-seekers out there, most of these candidates are conducting their job hunts from the relative comfort of an existing role.

This also means that it can take a lot longer for organisations to secure the right people with the right skills for their vacancies:

  • 63% of businesses report an existing skills shortage (up by yet another percentage point versus last year).
  • Companies are taking 1 month and 27 days more than expected to fill their vacancies.
  • Elsewhere, SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk has created a ‘Skills Map‘ to demonstrate regional differences in skills and job demand.  This reveals that the Financial Sector has the greatest vacancy demand in our local South-West region.

All of the above data is highly timely, with The Confederation of British Industry having called on the government to do more to tackle the national skills gap in this week’s spending review.

How are employers overcoming the skills shortage?

Returning to ‘The Open University Business Barometer 2019,’ businesses are taking a number of different approaches to their recruitment crises.

  • Almost 1/2 (48%) of companies have made use of temps to fill skills gaps.
  • 44% have increased their spending on recruitment services.
  • 38% have offered higher salaries in a bid to lure more applicants.
  • While 31% have felt forced to recruit lesser skilled candidates.
  • 61% of employers believe they will need to focus on internal talent development skills to increase their productivity and efficacy.

Advice for candidates and employers…

Skills shortage advice for candidates:

  • This remains an opportune time to apply for new jobs. Dependent on your industry, you may find yourself competing against smaller candidate pools. This naturally increases your chance of securing an interview.
  • However, don’t rest on your laurels! It is misguided to think that a skills gap creates a pure ‘candidate market’ in which you don’t have to make any effort in your applications. Businesses are still looking for the right skills, personalities and attitudes for their openings and it’s your job to prove that you possess them!
  • You’ll find a regularly updated list of local openings here.

Skills shortage advice for employers:

  • Ensure you’re investing your time and budget in the best recruitment approach for your business. We’re proud REC members, which means that we’re working to the highest industry standards. In the REC’s words, it is about “making sure that employers get the best talent and right people to help their businesses grow”.
  • Don’t be afraid to join the 48% of companies working with temps while searching for your permanent team members. This offers a myriad of benefits, including the chance to tap into local talent, spotting candidates that may provide longer-term solutions, and even the opportunity to refine your search needs as the result of your insights.
  • It can help to review your candidate search criteria. Are there skills that you’re overlooking or candidates who could easily adapt to your needs?

We would be delighted to discuss your temporary, permanent and/or contract staffing requirements. Please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us today. 



The future skills framework

A future skills special: from a new task force, to students’ concerns, and the employment market’s major currency…

The new task force & its future framework…

  • A number of leading education and employment organisations have come together to form a major new task force. Together, they will draw up a framework of core job skills that we will all need in the future.
  • These skills will help businesses to establish what they’re looking for in their recruits (particularly in a time of increasing automation). For example, this could include problem-solving, teamwork and presentation abilities.
  • The framework will resemble the ‘Skills Builder Framework’, which is already used by teachers. In addition to helping identify required abilities, this enables users to establish ‘measurable steps’ through which to obtain them.
  • This project could help the nation to move closer towards the recommendations made in Matthew Taylor’s 2017 Taylor Review. You may recall that this was a ‘Review of Modern Working Practices’, which aims to help the government adapt to a rapidly changing world of work.

Students feel unprepared for their careers

  • 44% of A Level students fear that a university degree won’t help them prepare for their careers.
  • 20% think an additional two to three years of paid work would provide greater preparation, with 8% saying university will merely delay their entry into employment.
  • Despite these findings, only 10% of students intend to go straight into work.
  • The researchers at AVADO are calling on educators and employers to work more closely to ensure students develop essential career skills.
  • Of course, the future skills task force may prove useful to this quest.

The employment market’s major currency

  • Both of the above-quoted sources understand that job skills matter to future career success.
  • Few organisations understand this better than the World Economic Forum, which places skills at the centre of its ‘Strategies for the New Economy’ white paper.
  • They go so far as to describe skills as the ‘currency of the labour market’. You can read the white paper in full here. It comprises a number of recommendations on how such a skills-based employment market can be created.

Looking for candidates with the right skills for your job vacancies? Email an Appoint Recruitment Consultant directly or call the team on 01225 313130.

Searching for jobs that match your skillset? You’ll find the latest openings here



What employers want – key candidate skills

What do employers want to see in their future team members and how can you demonstrate these abilities?

It’s always helpful to remember that (for the most successful companies!) the recruitment process is about far more than checking experience boxes. Business leaders are also looking for candidates that possess the appropriate skills to enhance their performance and complement the rest of the team.

One study has uncovered six such skills that employers want to see in their recruits:

  1. Adaptability (71.5%)
  2. ‘Resilience’ (57.5%)
  3. Being prepared to ‘upskill’ (39.7%)
  4. Being able to change (31.3%)
  5. Striking a ‘balance between work and personal life’ (29%)
  6. And networking skills (16.4%)

The first four skills all relate to the rapid pace of change now facing employers, as discussed on HR News.

This focus on change also cropped up in our recent post on the most wanted trainee skills – which is also relevant to non-trainees; especially those looking to enter a new sector!

How to demonstrate these skills:

As ever, you don’t want to treat these skills as CV or interview buzzwords so much as useful starting points.

Brainstorm examples that demonstrate how you’ve used these skills and what you’ve achieved as a result. Use these examples in your CV where relevant and practise discussing them in an interview scenario.

‘Relevant’ means you’re also tying your examples back to the skills and attributes required by each individual employer. I.e. you’re carefully reading individual job advertisements and specificiations and then tailoring your approach to match.

An interesting note on skill number three…

You’ll see that being prepared to upskill came in third place and this was discussed further in the HR News piece…

  • It suggests that 89.3% of employers are taking a ‘proactive approach’ to employee skills development for a variety of positive reasons. All sounds fantastic, yet this response is not supported by other research conducted on employees themselves.
  • In reality, only around 46% of professionals believe they are receiving adequate training. Advice for employees in this position can be found here.
  • Business owners may benefit from conducting some internal reviews to ensure that they’re not overestimating their skills development efforts. After all, this has long been a powerful staff retention tool.


What’s most important right now?

What’s most important to you – your job and salary or your social and love life? 

It appears that most British employees select the former, prioritising their work and income ahead of their relationships.

Looking at the stats…

  • 54.7% of British people say their work life is most important right now.
  • 13.8% of respondents prioritise their social group.
  • And only 12.3% place their love life above all else.

Sadly, despite this focus, only 17.2% of employees are in their ‘dream job’. In fact, very few people have achieved their broader goals. You’ll find more stats regarding this here.

Really considering what’s most important…

A few questions come to mind as a result of these findings:

  • If you’re among the 54.7% that prioritise their work life, what is it that you’re specifically aiming to achieve? Is there a set role, salary or path that you’re working towards? Of course, it could be the case that you simply derive more enjoyment from your work life than other aspects of your lifestyle at this time.
  • Whatever your goals and priorities, consider whether your current (or most recent) job sets you on the right track to achieve them. There might be another job role that gets you closer to your aims.
  • Do you know what’s needed to get the job you want? Keep looking at job specs to see what employers are looking for. Also, let your Recruitment Consultant know your priorities and what you’re working towards.

Never forget the value of being a ‘well-rounded’ candidate. Employers are impressed by those that can bring additional skills to their team. The ability to forge effective relationships is a powerful attribute.

Where possible, work towards a blend of both – a positive work focus alongside a healthy social life. Your priorities will naturally shift at different points in your career; you’ll also need to find the right blend for your needs and personality.

Visit our jobs page to get a better idea of what local employers are looking for.



Building your transferable skills

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about transferable skills. Yet how easily can you identify yours and do you know how to build them?

What makes a skill transferable?

The term applies to any key skill or attribute that you can carry from one job to the next.

While vital for us all, they become especially imperative for those that are…

  • Only just embarking on their career
  • Entering a new industry
  • Looking to make a major job change
  • Returning to work after a career break

Each of these groups may have to work that bit harder to demonstrate their suitability for a job role. So, rather than describing the skills gained from a recent job, they will illustrate their transferable skills gathered from elsewhere.

Example skills include:

All those personal attributes that spring to mind when highlighting the best of your abilities, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Project management
  • Reliability
  • Organisation
  • Budgeting
  • Record keeping
  • Research
  • IT and technical

As you can imagine, this list could become extensive and will certainly vary by individual.

Where do you develop transferable skills?

You develop these attributes over time and through a variety of professional and personal duties. For instance:

  • Your career roles to date
  • ‘Non-career’ jobs, such as part-time positions undertaken during your studies
  • Professional associations
  • Work experience placements
  • Voluntary roles
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Training courses
  • Travel
  • And caring responsibilities

Communicating your skills:

If there’s one tip that you take away from this piece, it’s this: make it relevant!

Employers want to see how closely you match the needs of their business and how well you’d ‘fit’ within their job role.

Spotted a job you want to apply for?

  1. Highlight the skills that the employer is looking for, then brainstorm all the ways that you’ve used these to date. Refer to the list above to prompt your recall.
  2. Compile specific examples to illustrate how you’ve used these skills in practice – and how you’ve used them to someone’s benefit. How has it helped your employer or voluntary organisation, colleagues, teammates, peers or personal/career development? Have these skills led to any specific achievements? Revisit our last post for more advice on how to showcase these.
  3. Weave your findings throughout your CV; include these in your personal profile, key skills summary and employment history. You can even highlight some of the most relevant skills in your cover letter or email.
  4. Finally, get in the habit of regularly reading job listings so you can quickly identify the most common key skills needed within your industry. See how you can build more of these both in and out of work.


Are you being upskilled at work?

Employers may be failing to ensure their team is regularly upskilled. And their employees may pay the price with their future career…

What is upskilling (and is upskilled even a word)?!

It might sound like just another marketing buzzword. However, ‘upskilling‘ has entered the Cambridge Dictionary and is defined as “the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills”.

The latest findings from the City & Guilds Group (as reported by HR Review) reveal that:

  • 76% of professionals feel it is important to continually refresh their skill-set. Vitally, this is stated as ‘regardless of age or career position’.
  • 81% predict some degree of change in their job skills requirements within the next five years.
  • Yet only 46% of people are receiving adequate training support from their employer to ensure they’re prepared for these changing needs.
  • What’s more, 1/4 of respondents say they are not receiving enough feedback regarding their skills development priorities.
  • Certain employee groups are less likely to be upskilled. 48% of employees aged 55 and above did not receive any skills training in 2018.
  • 42% of all part-time workers additionally report the same.

Why aren’t workers being upskilled?

  • It appears employers are most concerned by their staff taking time out of their usual working day (42%).
  • The cost of training is also proving to be a barrier for employers (29%).
  • While few individuals feel they can fund training themselves outside of work (28%).

How can you ensure you’re being upskilled?

These are concerning stats and there are some great comments regarding the importance of prioritising learning and development at work. Yet what do you do if you’re the employee and your skills haven’t been refreshed for some time?

  1. Where possible, use appraisals as an opportunity to ask your employer how you can keep your skills relevant to the changing needs of the organisation. This will help plant a seed and could point you in the right direction, even if the company is unable to finance training at present.
  2. Do your own research. Explore articles and podcasts regarding the future of your industry. See if there are any common themes or predictions.
  3. Use your findings to research ways to upskill at home. These don’t always have to be costly. Again, podcasts, websites and books can teach you a lot.
  4.  Explore how a new job role could help you upskill. It may be that you’re ready for your next career step. Keep an extra close eye on any job descriptions that closely match your experience yet also offer the chance to learn something new.

You can always email your CV to one of our Recruitment Consultants (here’s what to include in your cover email). Alternatively, you’re welcome to upload your details via the site today.