Skills shortage impacting profitability, growth and output in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland businesses are experiencing the knock-on effect of ongoing skills shortages and recruitment challenges according to The Open University’s Business Barometer 2022 report.

By Claire Cartmill
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 8:11 am

Published in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce, the data shows 83% of respondents in NI agree their organisation is currently facing skills shortages. While three-quarters (75%) of organisations say the impact of these skills shortages is causing increased workload on other staff, 82% also say they are seeing reduced output, profitability or growth.

The Open University’s annual report which provides a temperature check on the UK skills landscape, reported that to help address the problem, more than half (60%) of organisations in NI expect to increase investment in staff training over the next year.

In addition, around (73%) of organisations in Northern Ireland have implemented some form of written plan around recruitment, training, addressing skills shortages, ESG, or D&I.

Lynsey Quinn of the business development unit at The Open University in NI said: “Our Business Barometer report highlights the need for employers to take a long-term strategic approach to addressing the skills gaps and that it’s more important than ever to take a proactive view on employees’ skills.

“The report also shows that recruitment is tougher than ever placing a focus on growing talent from within and opening up opportunities for hidden talent both inside and outside the organisation. Critically, staff seem to be under more pressure than ever, looking at last year’s report, an increased number of employers admit that the skills shortage is increasing their teams’ workload and wellbeing.

“Through The Open University’s work with employers in Northern Ireland, we’ve seen how education can make a huge difference to workforce impact and diversity. Education is a critical enabler and has a vital role to easing and solving the skills shortage. If we can harness the ambitions of our people who deliver products and services, then it’s a win-win for all.”

Stuart Anderson, head of public affairs, NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “These results confirm the skills shortages problems are worsening and the country can ill afford this drag on the economy as we begin to recover from the pandemic and grapple with the impact of geo- political events. Planning for skills has never been more important and it’s time for employers, training providers and policy makers to work together to ensure the skills system delivers for individuals, businesses and the economy.”