UK 'in need of skilled workers'

20 Oct 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

British employees are lacking in certain basic skills required in the workplace, a recent paper has suggested.

Skills for Business: More to Learn? was compiled by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and questioned around 6,000 companies regarding employment issues. It revealed that 45 per cent found it very or quite difficult to recruit the right member of staff.

John Longworth, director-general of the BCC, observed that many companies are facing difficulties in recruitment due to the “poor skills available within the local labour pool”.

This comes at a time when the government is cracking down on the availability of talented labour from overseas, imposing an annual limit of the number of Tier 2 work permits issued to people from outside of the European Economic Area.

Mr Longworth added: “Even at a time of record youth unemployment, firms lack confidence in our education system's ability to deliver basic literacy and numeracy skills.

“But employers also want to see young people with a strong worth ethic, and those 'softer' skills like timekeeping, and communication, which are fundamental in the work environment.”

The figures backed up his view, with less than half (45 per cent) of businesses very or fairly confident in recruiting graduates and just 29 per cent feeling similarly about recruiting school leavers with A-Levels or equivalent.