Widening the Skills Gap

Widening Skills Gap Will Hit SMEs Hardest, Warns New Research

SMEs who haven’t acted to solve the skills gap already must do so now – or else risk jeopardizing their future growth.

This is the warning from Aldermore, the specialist lending and savings bank, after considering the research they have jointly undertaken with YouGove and CEBR.

Over Two Thirds of Businesses Suffering From Skills Gap

The research revealed that only 29% of businesses feel they are not suffering from a skills gap in their business – with medium-sized businesses nearly twice as likely to have a skills gap issue as smaller ones. 39% of all businesses said that they will need to hire more staff to grow financially over the next five years.

However, not all findings were negative. The research also showed that 81% of the businesses with a skills gap issue have already taken steps to address it.

So how are businesses tackling – or intending to tackle – the skills shortage?

  • 43% of businesses already addressing the issue have introduced additional staff training, investing in the skills of their existing workforce rather than recruiting new staff
  • 31% of businesses had begun to offer apprenticeships
  • 26% had begun employing overseas workers with the necessary skills

Carl D’Ammassa, Managing Director of Business Finance for Aldermore, said: “Companies currently affected by this issue are clearly working hard to address the skills shortage; however, as firms continue to grow and if the labour market continues to tighten, this issue will become even more pronounced and will affect an increasing proportion of businesses. This persisting issue will consequently harm business growth by eroding profit margins due to soaring employment costs, unless firms adopt robust measures to protect themselves against it.

“Firms must act now to introduce processes to reduce this risk in the long-term, regardless of whether they are currently facing a skills gap or not. Inaction now could come back to bite them in the future.

“Companies should think about how to retain skilled staff, organise succession for retiring employees and train people according to the company’s needs, in order to achieve their future growth aspirations.”

Stephanie Whalley
Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.