Skill shortages and mismatch are an issue right across the UK.
As part of our partnership with UKCES, we’ve been looking at the city level data collected via the Employer Skills Survey. This survey collects information from over 91,000 UK employers on the skills challenges they face, covering issues such as recruitment difficulties, amount of training provided by employers and underutilisation of existing employee skills. We’ve put the cities data from the survey onto a new version of our data tool here. Focusing on the recruitment data reveals four key points:
All cities are experiencing some level of difficulty in filling vacancies, with both strong and relatively weaker city economies affected. Brighton – a relatively strong city economy – has the highest proportion of hard to fill vacancies at 54 per cent of all vacancies. Doncaster, a relatively weaker city economy, places 2nd with 49 per cent. Swindon and Cambridge also appear in the top 10, as does Coventry, with all seeing hard to fill vacancies account for more than 40 per cent of vacancies.
Skill shortage vacancies (SSV) are defined as vacancies that employers are having difficulty recruiting for due to either a lack of skills, qualifications or relevant work experience among applicants. While there is a deal of variation in the share of skill shortage vacancies among cities – from 5 per cent of all vacancies in Blackburn to over 40 per cent in Brighton – in the majority of cities these SSV account for more than 15 per cent of vacancies. Again, both northern and southern cities feature in the top and bottom 10 of cities.
In total, 44 per cent of employers in cities report a lack of applicants with the required skills as one of the key reason they have a hard to fill vacancy. Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes, Preston and Sheffield are the exception to this, with the majority of employers instead citing low number of applicants or not enough people interested in doing the type of job offered as their main recruitment challenge.
The above findings emphasise that skill shortages and mismatch are an issue right across the UK, with southern cities struggling just as much as northern cities to get employees with the right mix of skills. This highlights the importance of aligning training and education more closely to the needs of employers, both to move people into work and to increase the productivity of firms.
We will be exploring the themes from the survey data further in a series of upcoming blogs. In the meantime, the city level data is available here on our skills and employment data tool.
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