UK work permit access 'threatening UK economy'

01 Oct 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Research has flagged up concerns over skill levels in the British workforce and highlighted the need to reform UK work permit systems to ensure the country can attract the workforce it needs to thrive from abroad.

The Hays Global Skills Index for 2013 analysed employment markets within 30 major global economies and noted the need for businesses and governments to work together in order to build the required infrastructure to deliver sustainable recovery and growth.

According to the research, the UK has one of the worst 'talent mismatches' in terms of job openings and workers' skills. Only Spain, Portugal and Ireland in Europe were shown to have greater talent mismatches.

The Hays study suggested that UK work permit and immigration issues could help to solve the talent problems. It called for a review of the country's immigration policies to make the country more appealing to skilled overseas workers.

Alistair Cox, the chief executive of the global recruitment firm, commented: “This year’s Hays Global Skills Index makes very clear that the pressure on the UK labour market is increasing. Too many skilled jobs are now going unfilled because the right skills are in increasingly short supply.

“This makes a real dent on a company’s ability to grow and constrains the UK’s economic prospects at a time when we need to be encouraging a sustained recovery.”

He added that on a longer-term basis, changes to the education system will help deliver skilled British workers. However, in the short-term, Mr Cox believes that “the only real route to fill these roles is revisiting the UK policies around skilled immigration”.

The report warned that leaving things as they stand risks denting economic growth and hampering job creation in the future.