Fresh concerns over supply of skilled workers

Two-thirds of businesses are concerned there aren't enough sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies the CBI report claims
Two-thirds of businesses are concerned there aren't enough sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies the CBI report claims

Most businesses fear there will be a lack of suitably skilled workers to fill growing numbers of vacancies in the next few years, according to a new study.

Research by the CBI suggested four out of five firms expect to increase the number of higher-skilled jobs in the coming years and most will maintain or increase investment in training.

Two-thirds of the 28,000 businesses covered in the report fear there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies, the CBI said.

The research follows comments made on Sunday by Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton who told the BBC the “drawbridge” should not be pulled up on those people needed across all sectors of the economy.

“We need to be careful that we don’t draw up the drawbridge on all of that, in an immigration debate, where we really do need those skills.”

“We have benefited from a visa scheme for those people living outside of the EU for many years, we just need to translate that into a future world.”

John Cope, of the CBI, said: “This year’s survey shows the scale of the challenge to address skills gaps, with two-thirds of businesses deeply worried that there aren’t enough sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies.

“The vast majority of firms do expect to maintain or even increase their investment in staff training, as well as increase the number of higher-skilled roles over the coming years.

“This is the first time since 2014 that these numbers have been so positive.”

Rod Bristow, of learning company Pearson, which helped with the report, said the study suggested a gap between what is learned in schools, colleges and universities and what is valued by employers.