Skills shortage will be main concern for UK firms in 2017

Employment buoyant despite looming Brexit but business has long-term recruitment fears

 “Having the right people with the right skills is crucial for any organisation’s performance,” says Carmen Watson of UK employment group Pertemps. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

“Having the right people with the right skills is crucial for any organisation’s performance,” says Carmen Watson of UK employment group Pertemps. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

Two out of five UK firms will recruit more staff next year despite continuing worries over a shortage of skilled workers and the impact of Brexit, says a report.

Research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that growth in permanent jobs will outstrip temporary recruitment for the fourth year in a row.

But the survey of more than 350 firms revealed that uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union has shaken business confidence in the labour market.

Skills shortages were said to be the biggest threat to competitiveness,with over half of those polled concerned about future access to skilled migrant workers.

Josh Hardie, the CBI’s deputy director general, said: “With record employment levels, more people than ever are now in work and the strengths of the UK labour market look set to yield positive results over the course of 2017.

“Businesses are 100 per cent committed to making the best of Brexit. However, this year’s survey does show a greater sense of concern about the UK’s long-term attractiveness as a place to create jobs.

“Getting our industrial strategy right and understanding what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be, will help ensure that this worry does not negatively impact the future performance of the labour market.”

Carmen Watson, chairman of employment group Pertemps, which helped with the annual employment trends survey, added: “2016 may have been a year of uncertainty for businesses but what we are seeing, looking ahead to 2017, is renewed optimism with employers continuing to invest in their workforces leading to jobs growth across the UK.

“However, skills gaps remain a concern for employers as having the right people with the right skills is crucial for any organisation’s performance.”

Almost a third of firms said they expected to create apprenticeships, while most reported positive employee relations.