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.



How secure are today’s jobs?

How secure are today’s jobs compared to those of twenty years ago? Plus to what extent do these findings even affect employees and job-seekers?

Before we delve into the latest stats, there’s one important question we should be asking…

What does job security really mean?

There was a time when job security was closely correlated with a ‘job for life’. Something now considered to be a feature of the distant past – and not expected to return, either!

In more recent decades (and as per the Oxford Dictionary), job security has become “the state of having a job…from which one is unlikely to be dismissed”.

How secure are jobs in 2019 versus 1998?

Due to the discussions surrounding the gig economy, you won’t be surprised to hear that most people think national job security is diminishing.

However, CIPD research suggests this is untrue:

  • The total share of non-permanent jobs has ‘not increased since 1998’.
  • Nor has the ‘under-employment rate’ of people requiring additional work.
  • The vast majority of national employees are in fact in ‘regular’ 9-5 jobs.
  • Any fluctuations that have occurred throughout this twenty-year period are additionally temporary in nature and relate to specific events, such as recessions.
  • While largely positive, the CIPD has called on the government to do more to tackle poor pay and discrimination issues.

Does it matter how secure your job is in 2019?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the growing gig economy and increase in ‘side jobs’ are signs that professionals are less concerned about job security…

Advice for those worried about job insecurity:

MindTools has issued advice to help people cope with the uncertainty of their work.

Two of the best tips from this piece also apply to your job-seeking process…

  • ‘Show your value’: not only does this approach help you stand out as an employee, yet it also helps set you apart from your job-seeking competitors.
  • ‘Stay current’: upskilling is sure to be a continued theme in recruitment news, as technology advances alter the jobs landscape. The way you market your skills should also be current…including regularly refreshing your CV!

Looking for a new job? You’ll find the latest temporary, permanent and contract openings listed 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.


Future job skills & work portfolios for all

Do you possess the three most vital future job skills? Plus why you may want to create a work portfolio regardless of your job role…

If the name Matthew Taylor sounds familiar, it’s because he authored the Taylor Review. This is the ‘independent review of modern working practices.’ It explores the effects of new ways of working on employees’ rights and responsibilities, alongside the ways in which the UK can prepare for the future world of work.

Your top 3 future job skills:

As individuals, one of the best ways we can prepare is to develop our transferrable job skills.  According to Matthew Taylor, who recently spoke at the CIPD Festival of Work, three of the skills we should all be focusing on include:

  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • And resilience

No specific priority order is specified. However, Taylor suggests that all three skills will remain valuable in 20 years’ time.

He also argues that by focusing on current and future job skills we can help protect those whose jobs are ‘most at risk’.

Other panelists raised the issue of retraining 10 million UK employees. This is the number of people that are predicted to require retraining as automation displaces current job roles.

So, it’s clear we all need to ensure we’re upskilling and reskilling ourselves…

As for why you may want to create a work portfolio:

Matthew Taylor is also quoted as saying “we will really have turned the dial on quality of work in a world where everybody has a portfolio.”

  • Taylor believes everyone should be able to present a formal account of their work – gained through employment and/or voluntary roles and similar. This will allow us all to promote our transferrable skills. Including our valuable future job skills!
  • What’s to stop you starting your portfolio now? Showcasing your primary achievements, successful projects and skills could really help you stand out from competitors in your next interview.
  • What’s more, keeping an ever-evolving list of skills and achievements is such a help when it comes to updating your CV.

Got an up-to-date CV at the ready? Please feel welcome to upload this here. You can also check out and apply for the latest jobs



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. 



The ageing workforce news roundup

The government is calling on businesses to do more to support the ageing workforce. There has been a wealth of news regarding this topic, in addition to age discrimination, over recent months. Time to explore the leading themes…

Do you feel your age is ‘holding you back?’

Source: Personnel Today

  • Around 1/2 of employees aged 50 and over believe their age could ‘hold them back’ in their job applications.
  • Almost 1 in 7 additionally believe they’ve already been declined a role due to their age.
  • In addition, 1/3 say they’ve not received as many training and promotion opportunities as younger colleagues.

These findings come from a survey conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better. They believe the UK could create up to £20 billion more GDP annually simply by “halving the ’employment gap’ between workers aged 50 to state pension age and those in their late 40s.”

The article also cites a number of positive suggestions to aid the inclusivity of older employees.

A diverse workforce presents benefits

Source: HR News

The older workforce is also a growing workforce. In only a decade, the number of over-50s workers will expand by approximately 27 million people.

However, unfair and incorrect biases could indeed be halting the recruitment of this employee group. Yet when recruited, a number of benefits are actually presented. Some of the discussed include:

  • Access to established skills and valuable experience
  • High commitment to roles
  • Learning from previous lessons
  • An ability to lead less experienced team members
  • And the opportunity for ‘intergenerational mentoring’ – with a mutually beneficial relationship.

Overcoming the myths

Source: People Management

We mentioned bias above and it appears a number of stereotypes have formed around the older employee. These include concerns around the ability to learn, productivity levels, sickness absence and impending retirement.

Businesses clearly need to re-evaluate their assumptions. You can find evidence-based responses to each of the primary stereotypes in the original post.

Looking at the laws

Source: HR Magazine

It seems an appropriate time to mention that age discrimination is illegal. Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. However, this isn’t doing enough to change business behaviour.

To this end, the Women and Equalities Committee has made a number of recommendations. These cover everything from age reporting to appropriate discussions around career decisions, employment terms, ‘performance management’ and ‘insured benefits’.

Looking to the future

Source:  HR Magazine

We opened today’s post with a mention of the government. They have called upon employers to be more flexible in a bid to support the ageing workforce.

Research from Saga Populus includes a number of suggestions. These primarily explore part-time roles and flexible working opportunities, which may encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.

Furthermore, they advise employers to explore their upskilling and retraining schemes.

And, finally, entering the world of AI

Source: HR Magazine

While some might fear artificial intelligence will displace the older worker, experts suggest otherwise.

As long as employees express empathy, and are willing to continually refresh their skills, they should remain highly employable.

Naturally, this topic concerns employees of all ages. Some say that 70% of today’s workers lack the career skills they’ll need in future.

For further recruitment advice, whether you’re looking for work or for a new team member, please call the office on 01225 313130.

Remember, we regularly update our news blog with advice that will help you to keep your skills current.