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Employers Turn to Training as Businesses Struggle to Recruit
July 10, 2019
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More than two-thirds (68%) of UK employers have struggled to find skilled workers this year, with Brexit uncertainty making talent scarcer.

An annual report on the skills landscape of the UK, The Open University Business Barometer 2019, reveals that organisations spent £4.4 billion on temporary staff, recruitment fees and increased salaries in the past 12 months due to difficulties finding employees with the right qualifications and experience.

Nearly half (48%) hired temporary staff to plug gaps, while 44 per cent spent more than intended on recruitment fee

Others (38%) took a different approach, increasing salaries in order to make roles more attractive, and nearly a third (31%) were forced to hire at a lower level than intended.

Approach to addressing the skills shortageExpenditure 2019Expenditure 2018Percentage Change
Extra spending on recruitment fees£1.6 billion£1.2 billion+33%
Training to boost skills of those hired at a lower level£1.2 billion£1.5 billion-20%
Increasing salaries on offer£0.9 billion£2.2 billion-59%
Spending on temporary staff while role remained vacant£0.8 billion£1.5 billion-47%
Total£4.4 billion£6.3 billion-30%

The skills shortage comes as the UK employment rate stands at the highest level since 1971, while unemployment is at its lowest since 19741. The dearth of skills in the labour market means that recruitment is taking one month and 27 days longer than anticipated, forcing many to seek external help – leading to a 33 per cent rise in spending on recruitment fees in total.

Three in five (63%) employers report that their organisation is currently facing a skills shortage (up from 62% in 2018). And while spending on recruiters is on the rise in an attempt to attract necessary skills, there is also a greater focus on re-training existing staff, with more than half (53%) of organisations increasing their training and development budgets in the past year – by an average of 10 per cent.

In the past, many employers have relied on buying talent rather than building it, but with more than three in five (62%) expecting it to become harder to find the right skills in the next year many are now looking internally.

Three in five (61%) think that they will have to focus on developing talent from within their organisation if they want to guarantee access to the skills they need in order to be productive and efficient. And the benefits of this approach can be felt throughout an organisation, with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills citing training as one of the most commonly cited channels through which spillovers of knowledge and productivity can occur2.

While one in five (21%) employers think that Brexit will open up new growth opportunities for their organisation, the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU may be a key driver of this sudden change in gear. Three in five (59%) senior business leaders agree that the skills shortage will worsen after the UK officially leaves the European Union, which may explain the shift to focus on home-grown talent.

While seven in 10 (71%) employers agree that developing the skills of the existing workforce is a more sustainable approach, it is crucial that any training helps to support business objectives, while offering as much as value as possible. The Open University’s flexible, technology-enabled degrees and apprenticeships, allow employees to fit learning around work and personal commitments, whilst being able to stay local and contribute to their community – and at the same time nearly three in five (58%) employers believe is less disruptive than other forms of training.

David Willett, Corporate Director at The Open University, responded to the findings: “It’s encouraging that employers are looking to invest in the talent of their existing workforce, with businesses increasingly turning to strategies that will serve their skills requirements for the years to come. While many are starting to focus more on building up skills from within, rather than buying them in, it is essential that training ultimately delivers results, while fitting around employees’ existing commitments.

“Current uncertainties may see businesses understandably focusing on the short term, but initiatives like work-based training are essential for those looking to remain agile and competitive throughout in a rapidly changing business environment. Training, such as apprenticeships, provides a long-term solution to UK organisations looking to adapt to challenges on the horizon such as Brexit, digitisation and new technologies.”

Further findings, including specific skills shortages by region and sector and employers’ expectations for the year ahead, as well as details of The Open University’s offering, are available in The Open University Business Barometer 2019.

Methodology: The Open University Business Barometer was developed using the expertise and experience of The Open University in conjunction with quantitative market research amongst a range of businesses across the UK. A full methodology, detailing all extrapolations and calculations, can be found on The Open University’s business website.

The Open University commissioned PCP Research Limited to undertake a survey of 950 senior business leaders across the UK between 9 and 21 May 2019. The data was weighted by UK nation, region, business size and sector. Data for financial calculations was analysed and extrapolated by Third City.

About The Open University: The largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2 million students, and it currently has almost 175,000 current students, including more than 7,000 overseas.

Over 75% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and 78 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses. The OU has been delivering work-based learning to organisations since the mid-90s, and has an employer satisfaction rating of 98%, according to the Skills Funding Agency. The OU launched its higher and degree apprenticeships offering in 2016 to provide employers with flexible, technology-enabled apprenticeship training for new and existing staff in leadership and management, digital, policing, healthcare and nursing.

In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities in having both a strong social mission and demonstrating research excellence.

Regarded as the UK’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units, as well as games, videos and academic articles and has reached audiences of up to 9.8 million across a variety of online formats including OpenLearn, YouTube and iTunes U.

Disabled Choosing Self-Employment for Better Working Conditions
June 25, 2019
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More disabled people are choosing self-employment but are being let down by poor support fromthe government, according to new research from IPSE.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE ) study, Making self-employment work for disabled people, found that 611,000 people with disabilities in the UK now work for themselves in their main job.

The report found that one in seven (14%) of the self-employed UK workforce are disabled, up by 30% in five years. The research emphasised that disabled people actively choose self-employment, with only 12% feeling they were ‘pushed’ into it by a lack of opportunities or redundancy. Read more

UK Workers Most Likely to Feel Discriminated Against in Europe
June 18, 2019
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New research from ADP ‘The Workforce View in Europe 2019’, reveals that reports of discrimination are highest in the UK where more than a third (38%) of respondents say they have been targeted, compared to a European average of 30%.

It seems young people are also particularly affected, with 49% of UK workers aged 25-34 reporting feeling discriminated against.

The ADP Workforce View in Europe 2019 surveyed over 10,000 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain, delving into how employees feel about issues in the workplace.

Despite numerous high-profile scandals, such as the #MeToo movement, bringing discrimination and workplace harassment into the public eye, the findings indicate it is still an issue in the UK. Read more

Millions are Unhappy at Work, but Some Apprentice Employers are Bucking the Trend
June 14, 2019
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By Emma Finamore. Editor, AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk

A staggering 4.3 million UK employees report being unhappy at work – 13% of us nationwide – and over 15,000,000 days are lost per year due to reported mental health problems caused or worsened by work.

The findings come from research conducted by Robert Half UK published this year, and shows how our workforce is becoming increasingly held back by mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety.

According to this research, the UK has the highest rate of unhappiness in the workplace among the countries surveyed, including Canada, Australia, Germany and 4% higher than in the US. The research found that one in three (31%) UK respondents admit to finding their work stressful, while one in 10 (12%) employees say they are dissatisfied with their work–life balance. Read more

Financial Returns, Job Prospects and Lifestyle Factors – Post-18 Choices
June 13, 2019
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Young people are making decisions about what they plan to do after leaving formal education as early as Year 7 or 8, with parents, teachers and friends being their preferred information sources, according to a new report,Choices students make between different post-18 education routes” by the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research for the Department for Education.

While school pupils who were aiming for university report being well-provided with information, advice, and guidance, young people considering technical or vocational options can feel left out, with school sources perceived as pushing HE as the preferred option for most.

Report author Peter Dickinson, Senior Research Fellow at IER, said:

“The evidence clearly shows that young people start to make their post-16 choices at an early age.  This means that careers advice and guidance needs to start earlier, even in primary school. This is particularly the case for disadvantaged young people who are less likely to progress into higher education and more likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training).”

The study, commissioned to inform the Government’s thinking on post-18 education, also found that: Read more

Careers Lessons Push up GCSE Grades
May 24, 2019
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Teenagers taught about the world of work are more motivated to get higher GCSE results, say, researchersEducation and Employers logo

A careers charity study found pupils who heard directly from employers about the realities of getting a job went on to get better grades.

It also seemed to provide the incentive for increased revision.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds says it shows the value of telling students how subjects taught in school are “relevant in later life”.

The research, on behalf of the Education and Employers charity, examined the progress of a group of about 650 secondary school pupils in England in the year before their GCSEs – with some given careers talks and meetings with employers. Read more

Permanent Staff Appointments Decline as Brexit-Related Uncertainty Intensifies
April 24, 2019
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The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs showed that heightened uncertainty towards the outlook underpinned the fastest decline in permanent staff appointments since mid-2016 in March.

Brexit-related uncertainty also contributed to a further steep decline in staff availability.

Key findings 

  • Permanent placements fall at quickest pace since July 2016
  • Vacancies increase at slowest rate since August 2016
  •  Availability of candidates continues to decline sharply

Read more

Skills Shortages in the UK Economy
April 18, 2019
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The latest Skills Shortage Bulletin from The Edge Foundation. Links is now available.

OLLY NEWTON, Director of Policy and Research, Edge Foundation explains what is in the bulletin:

In this edition, we look at the current state of the labour market through research by CIPD. This suggests that, with so many graduates in non- graduate jobs and workers not making full use of their skills, as many as half (49%) of UK workers could be in the wrong job, based on their skill level.

Read more

Ageing Better Consultation
April 12, 2019
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Please see a request below from Ageing Better regarding a consultation they are undertaking into improving recruitment outcomes for Image result for centre for Ageingolder job candidates.

Ageing Better are about to begin a programme of work looking at improving recruitment outcomes for older job candidates. As part of this we are conducting a month-long consultation process to ensure that we have as good an understanding of the topic as possible before designing and commissioning said programme of work. I thought that you would be able to offer some useful insight on this topic, and would very much appreciate if you could answer some of our consultation questions (see below) or suggest a colleague who might be able to respond.

Further details can be found in this document, but the questions.

we are looking to answer through this consultation are: Read more
Report from LKMco: Careers Education: What Should Young People Learn and When?
April 10, 2019
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LKMco has launched an important new report, which sets out what young people should learn during their careers education, and when

More Than A Job’s Worth: Making Careers Education Age-Appropriate was commissioned by the charity Founders4Schools, and argues that children’s careers education should begin as soon as they start school. While this is something that may make some people squeamish, the report sets out how this can be done in an age-appropriate way.

For example, the research highlights how some nurseries and primaries launching careers education early have added ‘jobs corners’ to their classrooms, where costumes, props and stories about different professions are available for pupils to explore.

Read more