Businesses must improve their diversity to overcome an “alarming” skill shortage

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Businesses must improve their diversity to overcome an “alarming” skill shortage in STEM sectors Government officials have warned, urging employers to “act now”.


A new report reveals that 43% of STEM vacancies are hard to fill due to the current skill shortage.


The UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ (UKCES) latest report reveals that the skill shortage in STEM sectors is double that of the average of 24% in the UK.


Lesley Giles, Deputy Director at UKCES, says: “These findings highlight an alarming shortage of skills affecting key jobs in the UK economy, and point to a vital need to improve the level of training provision offered to those working within STEM industries.”


“There is a vital need for employers to act now to secure a steady flow of talent with the right skills in years to come: building more structured training and development schemes and developing clear career pathways are just two ways in which early action can avert future crises.”


Paul Lambert is an Associate Director at Hay Group. Speaking exclusively to Recruitment Grapevine, he advises recruiters to boost their diversity to overcome the skill shortage.


He explains: “Make sure that you have an employment proposition that appeals to men and women as well as the younger generation. Pull from as large pool as possible to get an ethnically diverse office.”


Lambert adds that recruiters should not be afraid to pull talented workers from abroad to fill the gap left by the skill shortage.


However, planning ahead is key to STEM companies looking for the best candidates.


Lambert says: “You need to get clear on what skills you need for the future.


“Being strategic in your resource planning and having a long-term view of at least 12 to 18 months is essential.


“In terms of recruitment, you should focus your resources on critical roles. So identify what those critical roles are and focus on filling them and the roles that are more difficult to replace.”


Lambert suggests that the skill shortage could also be filled by in-house resourcing and by creating good relationships with universities.


He says: “For example, we helped a big infrastructure firm put in place a partnership with a university to upscale their system and engineering skills so that they would have a retake on their end-to-end engineering of large projects.”


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