Survey highlights jobs concerns

A new survey from the CBI has revealed that demand for highly-skilled people will intensify during the recovery and employers fear they will not be able to find people with the skills they need to fill high-level jobs.

The CBI report, entitled ’Ready to grow: business priorities for education and skills’, is sponsored by leading qualifications-awarding body EDI. The survey was answered by 694 employers, who together employ over 2.4m people and represent companies of all sizes and sectors.

Half of employers (51 per cent) are concerned that they will not be able to fill posts requiring the right graduate level or higher skills in the coming years and a third (32 per cent) do not believe it will be possible to fill intermediate-level jobs, requiring skills equivalent to A level. A third (30 per cent) of employers predict that the need for lower-level skills will decrease, while just 17 per cent say it will increase.

Despite the recession, nearly half of employers (45 per cent) say they are already having difficulty recruiting staff with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), with manufacturers and science-related businesses having the most difficulty finding highly skilled people to fill their posts. Even more companies (59 per cent) expect to have difficulty finding STEM-skilled people in the next three years.

Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General, said: ’Our survey shows businesses want tomorrow’s workforce to be at the top of the new government’s policy agenda. As we move further into recovery and businesses plan for growth, the demand for people with high-quality skills and qualifications will intensify.

’In the future, people with qualifications in science and maths will be particularly sought after and firms say it is already hard to find people with the right technical or engineering skills. The new government must make encouraging more young people to study science-related subjects a top priority. Businesses can help by showing that these skills lead to exciting and rewarding careers, helping to tackle the big challenges, such as climate change and energy security,’ he added.