Thursday, July 20, 2017

News: Survey provides invaluable insight to address skills gap

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Access to skilled labour remains a major concern for Sheffield city region (SCR) businesses according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), run by the region's Chambers of Commerce.

The results give a regular snapshot of how business is faring and are used to influence decision-makers to provide the right support structures to help boost local growth, jobs and the economy.

A consistent trend each quarter is that while over half of manufacturing and service firms have tried to recruit and the majority expect to increase their workforce in the near future, they experience difficulties in finding the right candidates for the roles.

Results showed that the main reason for 46% of firms failing to recruit in the last 12 months was due to candidates lacking the necessary skills, especially for skilled manual and technical jobs and managerial and professional roles. Additionally, nearly 20% of firms reported a lack of qualifications also being a primary factor. Over 50% of firms however were willing to invest in training.

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Sir. Nigel Knowles, Chair for Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: "We know that in the region we have an amazing pool of willing and conscientious employees. But it's no secret that more, and perhaps more up-to-date, skills are needed to underpin the growth that is emerging. We are tackling the shortages that businesses tell us are hampering growth in the region.

"Armed with the invaluable insight provided by Chamber members via the Quarterly Economic Survey we will be able to work on ways to help fill the skills gap, and to ensure work candidates and employees can get the training they need and want. It's what we all want to see.

"Employees are drawn to the bright lights and lifestyle of other cities after a couple of years in their first job, but it’s time for businesses to shout about the attractions of the region and doing business here to make it more appealing to them."

The survey showed that in both sectors, the main staff incentives offered by both sectors are additional personal and professional development training and bonuses for hitting targets.

Over the last 12 months, 80% of manufacturing firms and 68% of service firms awarded pay rises with more intending to award them in line with inflation over the next year. Additionally, a high proportion of firms in both sectors reported that the main incentives they offer to recruit candidates and retain staff are personal and professional development training and bonuses for hitting targets.

Prof. Andrew Simson from Sheffield University Management School, who analysed the responses, said: "The results of the Quarterly Economic Survey for the Sheffield City Region in the second quarter of 2017 show an encouraging and mainly positive continuation from last quarter.

"Business sales continue to grow and the expectation over the next three months is still positive for both domestic and international trade. Price pressures remain in the region's economy, with the effects of Brexit and raw material costs and exchange rates continuing to be of concern to manufacturing companies."

SCR Economy website

Images: SCR Economy


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