Avatar
Hello
Guest
Log In or Sign Up
What do Graduates do? Regional Edition
October 18, 2019
0

A region-by-region guide to graduate destinations in the UK – with an introduction by AGCAS, insight and analysis by Charlie Ball, and commentary and data for every region of the UK

Key findings

This year’s edition of What do graduates do? takes a look at graduate destinations in the UK by region, revealing the top jobs, occupations and industries that graduates enter in each area – as well as the main occupational shortages.

  • There is no ‘UK graduate labour market’ as such. Instead, the UK is made up of a complex set of interlocking, sometimes overlapping local and regional labour markets.
  • Each region of the UK has its own character, issues of occupational supply and demand, and its own guidance and employability support challenges.
  • The picture is of an urbanised jobs market based around London and its environs, and the larger regional centres of the country.
  • Jobs are not evenly distributed throughout the UK, and tailoring careers advice can help students understand what opportunities are in their area.

Each section of the report contains a wealth of data, trends and analysis about the region in question. For example:

  • The North East has seen a 25% increase in graduates entering business, HR and finance professions.
  • 36.7% of new graduates in Yorkshire and the Humber’s business and finance sector work in Leeds.
  • 29.7% of new graduates in the East Midlands work for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • 12.2% of all new graduates starting their careers work in the South East.
  • More than half of graduates working in London six months after graduation were originally domiciled in the capital city.
  • 90.6% of graduates starting their careers in Scotland had studied there.
What’s inside
  • Introduction by Gabi Binnie, policy and research manager at AGCAS.
  • What do graduates do in the regions? by Charlie Ball, head of higher education intelligence at Prospects.
  • Commentary and data for every region of the UK: North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, South East, South West, London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • National averages.
Download the full report

What do graduates do? Regional edition

  • File typePDF
  • Number of pages in document44  pages
  • File size6.7MB

Download PDF file What do graduates do? Regional edition

About the report

What do graduates do? Regional edition 2019/20 was published in October 2019. It is a region-by-region guide to graduate destinations in the UK, six months after graduation.

It is based on data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s (HESA) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2016/17 survey, and the Employer Skills Survey 2017.

The report was produced by Prospects and AGCAS on behalf of HECSU. 

You can also read the regular What do graduates do? publication.

Written by
Photo: Laura Greaves

Laura Greaves Information analyst Prospects

Impetus: Research Report on Long-Term NEET
October 4, 2019
0

The research report ‘The Long-Term NEET Population’ highlights that 75% of young people who are NEET for three months have been NEET for 12 months.

Most NEET young people are NEET for the long-term. This finding has significant consequences, with being long-term NEET linked to poorer health and employment outcomes decades later: a scarring effect.

To read the full report follow the link below.

https://impetus.org.uk/assets/publications/Youth-Jobs-Gap-The-Long-Term-NEET-Population.pdf

NAO Report on Support for Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in England
September 12, 2019
0

While some children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are receiving high-quality support, many others are not getting the help they should, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). Local authorities are coming under growing financial pressure as the demand for supporting school pupils with the greatest needs rises.

In its report published on 11 Sept, “Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in England” the NAO estimates that the Department for Education (DfE) gave local authorities £9.4 billion to spend on support for pupils with SEND in 2018-19 – 24.0% of their total core grant for schools.

While the DfE has increased school funding, the number of pupils identified as having the greatest needs – those in special schools and with education, health and care plans (EHC plans)* in mainstream schools – rose by 10.0% between 2013-14 and 2017-18. Over the same period, funding per pupil dropped by 2.6% in real terms for those with high needs, and also decreased for those without EHC plans.

Local authorities are increasingly overspending their budgets for children with high needs. In 2017-18, 81.3% of councils overspent compared with 47.3% in 2013-14. This is primarily driven by a 20% increase in the number of pupils attending special schools instead of mainstream education.

Local authorities have also sharply increased the amount they spend on independent special schools – by 32.4% in real terms between 2013-14 and 2017-18. In some cases, this is due to a lack of appropriate places at state special schools. More than four in five local authorities are overspending their high needs budget.

In response to overspending against these budgets, local authorities are transferring money from their budgets for mainstream schools to support pupils with high needs. They are also using up their ringfenced school reserves, which have dropped by 86.5% in the last four years. This is not a sustainable approach.

Stakeholders in the sector have raised concerns that the demand for special school places is growing because the system incentivises mainstream primary and secondary schools to be less inclusive. Mainstream schools are expected to cover the first £6,000 of support for a child with SEND from existing budgets and cost pressures can make them reluctant to admit or keep pupils with SEND. Another barrier is that schools with high numbers of children with SEND may also appear to perform less well against performance metrics.

Pupils with SEND, particularly those without EHC plans, are more likely to be permanently excluded from school than those without SEND. Pupils with SEND accounted for 44.9% of permanent exclusions in 2017/18. Evidence also suggests that pupils with SEND are more likely to experience off-rolling – where schools encourage parents to remove a child primarily for the school’s benefit – than other pupils.

While Ofsted has consistently rated over 90% of state special schools as good or outstanding, most pupils with SEND attend mainstream schools. Short Ofsted inspections of ‘good’ mainstream schools are not designed to routinely comment on SEND provision, so provide limited assurance of its quality.

The NAO has also raised questions about the consistency of support across the country as there are substantial unexplained variations between different local areas. Joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspections indicate that many local areas are not supporting children as effectively as they should be.

The NAO recommends that the DfE should assess how much it would cost to provide the system for supporting pupils with SEND created by the 2014 reforms and use this to determine whether it is affordable.

The Department needs better measures of the effectiveness of SEND support in preparing pupils for their adult lives and should make changes to funding and accountability arrangements to encourage and support mainstream schools to be more inclusive.

It should also investigate the reasons for local variations to increase confidence in the fairness of the system, identify good practice and promote improvement.

Since the report was completed, on Friday 6 September, the DfE announced a review of support for pupils with SEND.

Key facts

1.3m
pupils in England identified as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at January 2019
£9.4bn
our estimate of the Department for Education’s funding to support pupils with SEND in 2018-19
81.3%
proportion of local authorities that overspent their high-needs budget in 2017-18
1.0% to 5.9%variation between local authorities in the proportion of pupils aged 5 to 15 with education, health and care plans
2.6%real-terms reduction in funding for each pupil with high needs between 2013-14 and 2017-18
32.4%real-terms increase in local authorities’ spending on independent special schools between 2013-14 and 2017-18
44.9%proportion of permanent exclusions involving children with SEND in 2017/18
91.8%proportion of state special schools that Ofsted had graded as good or outstanding at August 2018
50.0%proportion of inspected local authority areas that Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission had assessed as underperforming at July 2019

Recommendations

  1. The Department should prepare for the next full Spending Review by making an evidence-based assessment of how much it would cost to provide the system for supporting pupils with SEND created by the 2014 reforms. It should use this assessment to determine whether the system is affordable, and to inform its funding and spending plans.
  2. The Department should set quantified goals, for 2020-21 onwards, including outcome measures such as metrics relating to preparing young people for adulthood, to make clear what level of performance would constitute success for the support provided for pupils with SEND. It should put in place mechanisms to collect the data needed to assess progress against these measures, including tracking long-term outcomes.
  3. The Department should review the incentives in the funding arrangements and the accountability system, and make changes that encourage and support mainstream schools to be more inclusive in terms of admitting, retaining and meeting the needs of pupils with SEND, whether they have EHC plans or require other support.
  4. The Department should identify and share good practice on how mainstream schools can effectively meet the needs of those pupils with SEND who do not have EHC plans.
  5. The Department should set out publicly the circumstances under which it considers public money should be used to pay for independent provision for pupils with SEND. The aim should be for the amount that local authorities pay for independent provision to be comparable with the amount paid for state provision for children with similar needs, unless there is a good reason for paying more.
  6. The Department should work with Ofsted to identify what more can be done to make inspections of mainstream schools, in particular short inspections, provide more assurance specifically about SEND provision that is easily accessible and clear to parents.
  7. The Department should more robustly investigate the reasons for local variations, drawing on the data available and supported by its specialist advisers and NHS England, and establish the extent to which the variations can reasonably be explained. It should challenge local areas that are outliers in respect of measures such as the proportion of pupils with EHC plans and use of high-cost provision, in order to reduce unnecessary variation, increase confidence in the fairness of the system, identify good practice and promote improvement.

*EHC plans set out a child’s legally enforceable entitlements to specific packages of support. They are for children whom local authorities have assessed as needing the most support. At January 2019, 20.6% of pupils with SEND had an EHC plan. 47.9% of those with an EHC plan attended mainstream schools and almost all others attended a special school.

In the National Audit Office report, financial years are written as, for example, ‘2017-18’ and run from 1 April to 31 March; school academic years are written as ‘2017/18’ and run from 1 September to 31 August.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“Helping all children and young people reach their potential is one of the core aims of this Government, including those with special educational needs. That is why the Prime Minister has committed to providing an extra £700 million next year to make sure these children get an education that helps them develop and thrive as adults.

“We have improved special educational needs support to put families at the heart of the system and give them better choice in their children’s education, whether in mainstream or special school. Last week we launched a review of these reforms, to make sure every child, everywhere, gets an education that prepares them for success.”

Further information from DfE:

  • The Children and Families Act 2014 (that sets out the basis of the SEND system) secures the general presumption in law of mainstream education in relation to decisions about where children and young people with SEN should be educated. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits schools from discriminating against disabled children and young people in respect of admissions for a reason related to their disability.
  • The Department for Education has created new special schools in response to the increasing number of pupils with complex special educational needs and are committed to delivering even more provision to ensure every child is able to access the education that they need.
What Motivates Adults to Learn? A Report by Nesta
September 5, 2019
0

The labour market is changing fast. Fifty-four per cent of all employees will require extensive upskilling or reskilling by 2022 (World Economic Forum, 2018) and eighty-five per cent of jobs in the European Union now require at least a basic level of digital skills (Cedefop, 2018). 

To meet the evolving needs of the job market, workers, business and governments need to adapt to a culture of lifelong learning by providing citizens with high-quality training opportunities.

However, a well-designed skills policy or training service doesn’t always translate into uptake. Workers also need to feel motivated to learn new skills and those who are most vulnerable to labour market changes are not always receptive or willing to reskill. So uncovering what drives motivation to learn is a priority.

Using evidence from a rapid evidence assessment (REA), carried out by CFE Research, this report by Nesta’s Digital Frontrunners identifies what motivates working adults to take part in and complete training in digital and digital-complementary skills.

Key findings
Motivation to learn is complex

Many factors drive people to learn. On the one hand, learners are motivated by external rewards, such as financial incentives, improved job opportunities or approval from a manager. However, learning also needs to be personally rewarding to feel worthwhile. Regardless of the external rewards like accreditation or incentives, it must be enjoyable, challenging and interesting (Kantar, 2018).

Without both these internal and external motivators, people are unlikely to take up or complete training. Therefore, skills policies and training services which consider both are the most likely to succeed.

Behaviour change models can help policymakers understand how external and internal factors interact to drive motivation to learn and design accordingly. The report outlines how the COM-B model (Michie et al, 2011) could be particularly useful in this respect.

Drivers to learn are personal

It’s tempting to give policymakers a list of general barriers and enablers to learning for them to consider when designing training services. However, in reality the choice to start training is complex and personal. For each adult, the decision to participate in learning comes at a tipping point where ‘personal benefits outweigh personal costs’ (Kantar, 2018). For some people the balance might be tipped when the financial costs of training are reduced. For others, it might be when they have access to childcare.

There is also some evidence that demographic factors like age, gender and education level affect motivation to learn. Across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, women tend to participate in training slightly less than men (OECD, 2019). Younger adults, those with higher education levels and higher socioeconomic groups are most likely to be learning (Kantar 2018). However, we need more granular research to understand the motivators and barriers for different groups when it comes to learning digital and digital-complementary skills specifically.

Self-reflection and goal setting increase motivation to learn

One of the most effective methods for helping learners to stay motivated is by pairing the learner with a trusted advisor who knows them personally, and knows the job or training course the learner is interested in (Kantar, 2018). The advisor can help the learner navigate their own personal barriers and enablers to training.

Some studies suggest that careers guidance techniques that promote self-reflection and goal setting successfully encourage workers to learn new skills (Stauffer et al, 2014; Eisele et al, 2013).

We need to test and learn to find out what works

Crucially, our rapid evidence assessment highlights a lack of evidence about what works to motivate workers to learn digital or digital-complementary skills. Although Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) are being rolled out in several countries, there isn’t yet much strong evidence that they work – although a forthcoming OECD report is expected to conclude that ILAs can be an important, emerging approach to training interventions which help structure learning over a career. We believe it is critical that governments invest in evaluating what works and identifying best practice.

Currently, there is no shared framework to measure the success of training services, which makes it hard to compare and contrast approaches. There would be value in creating a shared set of measures for effectiveness that could be used across the skills system.

What next?

There is more to be done to understand what policies can effectively increase workers’ motivation to learn digital and digital-complementary skills. Throughout 2019 and 2020, Nesta’s Digital Frontrunners will test training and learning interventions to help policymakers understand what works for lifelong learning. Digital Fronrunners will also use evidence from the REA as a foundation for primary research, and to inform discussions and practical projects in the future.

Digital Frontrunners is a programme led by Nesta that aims to find solutions to the challenges of digital transformation.

You can download the full report following the link below.

https://bit.ly/2Hy89s0

Report authors:
Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE
Alex Beard
Alex Stutz
John Higton
Dr Guy Birkin
Andrew Corley
Chris Milner

Parents Prefer Degrees Combining Work and Study for their Children
August 22, 2019
0

Three-quarters (75%) of parents think high-quality work experience is the best way to develop the skills employers want, according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Its survey of parents of 11- to 18-year-olds showed that, with record numbers of young people going through university clearing this year, parents rate degree programmes that combine work and study over traditional university degrees.

Nearly two-thirds of parents (64%) favoured a degree apprenticeship with a major company like Rolls-Royce over a degree at Oxford or Cambridge (36%). Nearly three-quarters (73%) rated a degree that combines full-time work with study over a traditional three-year university degree based on lectures and seminars alone (27%).

Almost three-quarters of parents (71%) also thought the opportunity to develop management, enterprise and leadership skills was important.

The research was published ahead of the announcement of GCSE results on 22 August.

Speaking to HR magazine, head of policy at CMI Rob Wall said that businesses are generally well prepared to provide rewarding, structured work experience placements.

“We know that employers really value work-ready young people and what they can offer. Previous research has found that most employers are already offering structured work experience placements and many of them are working directly with schools to make this happen. We also believe that the government’s T-Level qualifications will really help to see more work experience placements on offer,” he said.

Wall added that some businesses may still encounter challenges when implementing work experience placements, however. “There are often difficulties with knowing how to reach out to young people, and for some companies it can be difficult to find the time and resources to feel like they can give young people the best experience,” he said. “We know that there’s always more that employers can do; particularly around providing specific technical opportunities and reaching out to educators.”

Wall offered his suggestions for how employers can provide successful work experience placements.

“We’d say that providing a good induction, which gives students the opportunity to understand the business, is really important. Secondly, they need to make sure they’re well prepared through developing a work plan where they get a sense of what it’s like around the business,” he said.

“Employers should provide them with a mentor or buddy to ensure they’re feeling properly supported, or even to just make sure that they’ve got someone to go to lunch with, and provide feedback to let them know how they got on. HR can play an important role in supporting managers to do this and setting the right culture and policies. If they get it right they can get future talent and help to train the workforce of the future.”

The CMI polled 1,003 parents of children aged 11 to 18 years old.

Job Insecurity May Be Overstated
August 5, 2019
0

Employers should focus on improving conditions for all workers, says the CIPD as its research finds insecure work is not as prevalent as people think

Employment insecurity affects many but overall work in the UK is as secure as it was 20 years ago, according to research from the CIPD. Its report

 Megatrends: Is work in the UK really becoming less secure? 

analysed Office for National Statistics data and found that non-permanent employees – which includes the self-employed, temporary workers, unpaid family workers and those on a government training scheme – make up 20% of the UK workforce, a share that has not increased since 1998.

The casualisation of work has received increased media attention over the past few years, with companies including Deliveroo and Uber coming under fire from unions and campaigners for low pay, irregular hours and unclear employment statuses.

However, the share of ‘involuntary’ temporary workers (defined as those who would rather have a permanent job) is highly cyclical and ebbs and flows with the economic climate, the researchers noted.

It peaked at 41.3% in 1995, before falling to 26.4% in 2008, the report stated. It increased again during the economic downturn to 40% in 2013, before falling again to 26.8% by 2018.

There have been no long-term increases in the under-employment rate of workers who want more hours, which was just under 7% between 2002 and 2007. This then peaked at 10.3% in 2013 and fell back to 7.4% in 2017.

The research also drew comparisons between the UK and the EU on various measures of employment security, finding that the UK has a low figure for non-permanent employment compared to other EU countries. However, it also has a more unequal wage structure and a higher share of low-paid jobs than most EU states.

Overall, 85% of the labour force were categorised as ’employees’ in 2018, compared to 87% in 1998. The proportion of full-time employees in 2018 was 63%, compared to 65% in 1998.

The report said that, while it’s important to improve the conditions and rights of people working atypically, policymakers need to focus more attention on improving the quality of employment for people in ‘regular’ jobs by doing more to address the causes of low pay and preventing discrimination at work.

Commenting on the report, Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said:

“This report counters some of the common rhetoric that employment in the UK is becoming more insecure. On a wide range of indicators the evidence suggests that, overall, employment security has remained broadly stable over the past two decades with very little evidence of any big structural increase in casual and insecure work. Increases in employment insecuritywhere they have occurred seem to be cyclical, linked to economic downturns, rather than a long-term trend.”

Willmott said that this means job quality overall should be a priority for employers and the government: “This suggests more attention should be paid by policymakers and employers to improving job quality and workplace productivity across the economy to tackle problems such as low pay and discrimination, not simply on improving the rights and security of atypical workers, important though this is.”

He added that the government needs to offer support for employers on how to improve work, as part of its Industrial Strategy.

“The government needs to outline in its Industrial Strategy additional measures to work with employers to improve how people are managed and developed,” he said. “For example, through ensuring sector deals are contingent on plans to improve leadership and people management practices, providing enhanced business support to small firms, and improving labour market enforcement.”

The research follows the UK’s first Good Work Standard being introduced on 29 July, which will accredit businesses as good employers. It was launched by mayor of London Sadiq Khan in partnership with a number of organisations, including the CIPD.

London-based companies participating in this voluntary scheme will be measured against a set of criteria including fair pay, working conditions, employee wellbeing, the availability of skills training, progression and diversity in recruitment.

A number of employers including EY, KPMG, London City Airport, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and the London Fire Brigade have already been accredited. The standard has been heralded as a potential template for other metropolitan or local authorities.

Latest Increase in Unconditional Offers Highlights Need for Radical Change
July 31, 2019
0

This year, almost two in five (38 per cent) of 18 year old applicants from England, Northern Ireland, and Wales received an offer for a place at university that could be considered unconditional, compared to a third (34%) last year and just 1% six years ago, according to new analysis released today (30 Jul).

A report from UCAS also reveals that the total number of unconditional offers made to 18-year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this year was 75,845, which represents 7.8% of all offers. This is up on last year’s 67,915 (7.1% of all offers) and considerably higher than the 2,985 (0.4% of all offers) made in 2013.

UCAS’ report ‘Unconditional offers – an update for 2019’, published within 22 working days of the 30 June application deadline, shows 97,045 students who are typically yet to complete their qualifications received an offer with an unconditional component. This is a rise from 2018, when 87,540 of these applicants received an offer of this type – which represented a third (34 per cent).

In 2019, a quarter of 18 year old applicants (63,830) from England, Northern Ireland, and Wales received a ‘conditional unconditional’ offer, up from a fifth (52,145) at this point last year. ‘Conditional unconditional’ offers are initially made by the university as conditional, then updated to unconditional if the offer is accepted as the student’s first (firm) choice.

Applicants from the most advantaged backgrounds, using the POLAR4 measure, were slightly more likely to receive a conditional unconditional offer than those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

Universities’ offer-making policies are typically confirmed up to a year before the start of the admissions cycle, and they will usually be consistent throughout the cycle to ensure fairness. By 31 March 2019, universities and colleges had already made 98% of this year’s offers to 18 year olds from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Previous UCAS survey insight  has shown that around two thirds of students receiving a conditional unconditional offer felt positive about them, with some reporting a reduction in stress levels before sitting their exams. UCAS’ 2018 End of Cycle Report  showed that those holding a confirmed place on an undergraduate course were more likely to miss their predicted grades than those holding a conditional offer.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said:

‘Students’ best interests must be the number one consideration for universities and colleges when making offers. We have expanded our information and advice to students  on all types of offers, as well as producing a series of good practice resources  to support admissions teams when making unconditional offers.

‘The use of unconditional offers remains a complex issue and continues to evolve. We look forward to working with the Office for Students and Universities UK on their respective upcoming admissions practice reviews, to deliver meaningful recommendations.

‘Clearing, the post-qualifications application route, is now open. With student choice at the heart of the UK’s application system, we’ve streamlined the process  for those who have changed their minds and now want to make a new choice. Anyone can apply to the 30,000 courses with places on offer for this September, including those students who might have accepted an unconditional offer.’

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“What sets the UK’s world-leading universities apart is our relentless focus on quality and this must be protected.

“There is a place for unconditional offers, however this data highlights the continued rise in their use and we know some students who accept unconditional offers can be more likely to miss their predicted A Level grades. We also have particular concerns about the use of conditional unconditional offers, which can potentially pressure students into accepting a place which may not the best option for them.

“Many institutions are already taking steps to address the rise in unconditional offers and we hope these efforts continue, with the figures showing a different picture next year. We look forward to seeing the results of the OfS’ and UUK’s reviews of admissions practices to ensure they work in the best interests of students.”

The University and College Union (UCU) said the time had come to adopt a post-qualification admissions (PQA) system – preferred in the rest of the world – where students apply to university after they receive their exam results.

UCU acting general secretary Paul Cottrell said:

‘Unconditional offers have made a mockery of exams and put teachers under unfair pressure when it comes to predicted grades. Unconditional offers put students under enormous pressure to make a snap decision about their future and can encourage some to take their foot off the gas, instead of striving for excellence.

‘The continuing rise of unconditional offers demonstrates the stark failings of our current admissions system. It is time for us to join the rest of the world and adopt a post-qualifications admission system so we can make university offers based on actual achievements instead of guesswork.’

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

“Our recently announced ‘Fair admissions review’ is bringing together school, college, university and UCAS leaders to ensure offer making practices are fair and transparent, underpinned by clear criteria and operating in the best interests of students.

“There are clear benefits in universities being able to use a variety of offer making practices to reflect an individual student’s circumstances, potential and the context of their application, and to support different groups such as students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“An important principle of the UK system is that universities decide independently which students they accept; but with this comes a responsibility to explain why and how places are awarded, and to show the public and students why different types of offers are made.”

Research shows that only one in six (16%) university applicants achieve the exam grade points that they were predicted. While UCAS has found that holding an unconditional offer increases the chances of missing a predicted grade by two or more grades by 6.4 percentage points.

Overall, 80% of applications from 18 year olds in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales received an offer (either conditional, unconditional, or conditional unconditional) this year, tying the record of 2018.

Apprenticeship Levy an ‘Empty Promise’, Says CIPD
July 24, 2019
0

The apprenticeship levy is failing to deliver on government promises to boost skills and spending on workplace training, according to research from the CIPD.

The key objectives of the levy were to increase apprenticeship numbers and investment in workplace training, which was in a 20-year decline when the levy was introduced in April 2017.

But the CIPD’s new report, Addressing employer under-investment in training: The case for a broader training levy, described this as an ’empty promise’.

It found that fewer than a third (31%) of the 2,000 levy-paying employers surveyed said the scheme will incentivise them to increase the amount of training they offer, down from 45% in 2017.

The report also showed that nearly six in 10 (58%) levy-paying employers either believe the levy will have no impact on the amount they spend on training (49%), or will actually lead to a reduction in training spend (9%).

Employers have invested in fewer apprenticeships since the levy’s introduction, with starts falling from 509,400 in 2015/16 to 375,800 in 2017/18, the research highlighted.

It also revealed that the way the levy is designed currently is incentivising employers to use their funds in counterproductive ways. A fifth (22%) of employers said they use their levy money on training that would have happened regardless, and 15% said they use the scheme to accredit skills that staff already have. A further 14% reported that the apprenticeship levy directs funds away from other forms of training that are more appropriate for their organisation.

The CIPD is calling on the government to replace the apprenticeship levy with a broader training levy, which would enable organisations to fund both apprenticeships but also other forms of accredited training better suited to their needs.

A portion of the training levy pot could also be used to create a regional skills fund to address skills challenges at a local level, such as by helping smaller non-levy-paying firms invest in skills, the report added.

The CIPD said it also wants the levy to cover all employers with a headcount of 50 or more. This would double the amount raised by the scheme to £5 billion, which would help make up the shortfall from the decline in investment in training over the past two decades, the body said.

Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser at the CIPD, said there is a case for more flexibility around apprenticeships. “Our research clearly shows the apprenticeship levy has failed to deliver what the government said it would: more investment in workplace training. For this to become a reality we need to have a broader training levy that is much less prescriptive and gives employers more flexibility. This should also help to prevent employers from gaming the system, as is currently the case,” she said.

Crowley outlined the case for obliging a larger pool of employers to invest in the levy:

“With only 2% of employers required to pay the apprenticeship levy, the money raised from it was never going to be enough to close the gap that’s been left by the long-term decline in training investment. But if we had more employers contributing we could make up the shortfall and also help to boost regional investment in skills.”

Employers Turn to Training as Businesses Struggle to Recruit
July 10, 2019
0

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
0

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