Research by City & Guilds Group and Emsi finds that London’s skills gaps are amongst the worst in the UK, with Brexit set to exacerbate the issue

 With only a matter of months before the UK leaves the European Union, research released by the City & Guilds Group and Emsi today has revealed that skills gaps dominate London’s business landscape, with Brexit expected to exacerbate the issue.

People Power, a study that saw the City & Guilds Group interview over 260 C-Suite executives in London, found that the capital is amongst the worst regions in the UK in terms of skills shortages. The research revealed that 9/10 (92.3%) of London’s C-Suite executives struggle to recruit the skilled people they need, and 35% say existing staff don’t have the right skillset. One of the biggest problems in London lies in management skills; 34% of respondents say they struggle most to recruit managers and 30% say senior leaders are most difficult to hire.

The research found most UK industries are expected to grow between now and 2024, however, a staggering 47% of London’s C-Suite anticipate skills gaps staying the same or getting worse in the coming years potentially hampering this growth. Almost half (48%) of London’s business leaders say Brexit will have an impact on their ability to grow the business in the next three to five years, and a quarter specifically say it’ll have a negative impact on their ability to recruit the right talent. In fact, 22% say it’s already had a negative impact on their hiring.

Despite the concerns noted, the research also found that London’s business leaders are actively investigating possible solutions to the skills gap problem. 35% of London C-Suite executives are considering employing more international staff from outside the EU in order to find, hire and retain the skills they need. Meanwhile, encouragingly businesses are also recognising the value of learning and development, with 30% saying they’re going to upskill their current workforce in order to mitigate the impact of Brexit.

London’s C-Suite have also voiced concerns that plugging the skills gaps isn’t just a problem for businesses to solve. 46% say educational institutions need to be better aligned to the needs of business, and 43% say the education sector and the Government need to collaborate better with businesses.

Commenting on the findings, Chris Jones, CEO of City & Guilds Group, said: “As we approach the final Brexit deadline, London’s skills shortages are becoming ever-more critical – and with our exit from the EU expected to worsen the situation, it’s time for the Government to act by investing more heavily in home-grown skills and better linking together education and business to ensure it our education sector is genuinely creating the skills our nation needs.

 “But it’s also a time for businesses to react. Which means shoring up their workforces for the future by embedding a culture of learning from entry level right up to senior leadership and management level. Continually upskilling current employees is an essential step if businesses are to avoid future issues, and while we found that 30% are planning to do so, more should consider this route if they want to mitigate the impact of Brexit and stay competitive on the World stage.”

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