Mind the Skills Gap

March 21, 2017

Mind the Skills Gap – British Businesses Struggle to Fill Technology Vacancies with graduates. As the haggling for Brexit truly begins it’s increasingly important to support British business, but a new study by education technology providers, IDEAS Bus, reveals a significant gap between the recruitment needs of the UKs SME and the abilities of British graduates.

With 61% of small businesses finding it difficult to find workers with the right tech skills to fill vacancies, and 42% saying that they don’t have the time or resources to train people on the job, many business owners are finding themselves in a catch-22 situation. Companies need to grow in order to increase their income and employ more staff, yet lack the staff with the expertise to enable them to grow.

Technological vacancies seem to be the most difficult to fill, with 37% of small business owners complaining that their tech needs are growing but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the gap, while almost a quarter (23%) of small businesses claim that a lack of technically capable employees is causing them to lose working hours.

Among the most sought after employees in the last 12 months were:

  •     Programmers, with 32% of SMEs struggling to fill positions
  •     A lack of Web Developers caused problems for 29% of small businesses
  •     While an additional quarter (24%) were seeking Coders

During the coming year it looks like App Developers will be most in demand, with 35% of SMEs set to seek these skills.

When asked why they thought that filling vacancies had become so difficult in recent years, one in five (21%) of SME owners said that the advancement of technology had led to the need for increased skill levels in the workplace, something which UK educators have been unprepared for.

With technology changing so rapidly, it is necessary to meet new and changing needs all the time. Compare the top skills required in 2017 to 2010, which was only 7 years ago, and we find many of the skills that were necessary then have either been downgraded or replaced.

Network Administration and Business process improvement are not up at the top anymore either, having been overtaken by positions in Big Data, Web applications and device management, as well as Interface Design. This confirms that in order to keep our technological skills up to date we need to be aware of emerging new technologies.

IDEAS Bus founder, Casey Farquharson, commented: “I’ve worked in business, education and tech for many years and it’s true that technology has come on at a surprisingly rapid pace in the last decade; no wonder many businesses are struggling to keep up. Unfortunately, there are many demands on UK educational establishments, meaning that teachers often lack the time to keep up with the technology which would give their pupils the edge when they move from education into employment.”


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