The number of employers experiencing skills shortages has increased in the past year, a study has found, prompting businesses to begin investing more in their existing workforce.
A survey of 950 business leaders, as part of the Open University’s (OU) annual Business Barometer, found 63 per cent of firms were experiencing skills shortages, up a percentage point on last year.
Similarly, 68 per cent of employers reported they were unable to find suitable candidates to fill roles and more than half (55 per cent) said they had “struggled” in the last 12 months because of skills shortages.
As a result, 62 per cent of senior business leaders felt their business was not as agile as it needed to be, due to a lack of skills.
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The report also found organisations were spending less on bringing talent in from outside and instead were investing in their existing workforce. Businesses paid out 30 per cent less this year on recruitment – £4.4 billion in 2019 compared to £6.3 billion in 2018.
More than half (53 per cent) were taking a “grow your own” approach to talent, increasing their investment in learning and development initiatives, and 71 per cent said they believed training existing workers was a more sustainable approach to addressing skills shortages.
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