Highly-skilled workers are in short supply, according to businesses across the UK. A recent CBI survey suggests that almost half of the nation’s bosses believe recruiting new employees with sufficient talents is a sizeable challenge.

News of these fears comes as the government announces urgent plans to develop the skills of young people in a bid to boost productivity.

“The recent Budget highlighted the need for businesses to harness the talents of potential employees, by helping to develop their skills,” says Rob Dolbear, Managing Director of relocation specialist HCR.

“Enjoying access to highly-skilled staff is crucial in terms of the UK’s economic growth, and there are many things we can do as employers to invest in the future of our workforce.

“Companies within the construction, manufacturing, science, engineering and technology sectors, in particular, are reliant on those who possess or have the potential to acquire the skills needed to meet their business goals. And apprenticeships are one important channel in achieving this – with the government promising to create a further three million of them.

“Careers advice, too, is incredibly important from an early age. Many schoolchildren don’t know what they want to do – even at the point where they are choosing their all important GCSE options.

“I believe, in addition to education-based careers guidance, there is much that businesses can do to help mentor young people at a time when their academic and practical skills can be harnessed.

“The CBI survey suggests that even basic skills can be hard to come by – with more than a third of employers encountering issues with the literacy and numeracy abilities of school leavers. Communication and language skills are also below par in many cases.

“This is incredibly worrying – and should be corrected whilst children are still in full-time education. The reality is, though, that many employers are forced to arrange remedial classes, in a bid to help new recruits gain these very basic skills.

“Investing in the future of our employees is not only essential in helping our young people carve out  successful careers and personal lives, it is the key to driving the UK’s bid to fulfil our potential as  world-beaters.

“Attracting the best talent into the workforce – and then keeping them there – is also a challenge for many of the nation’s businesses. There is significant competition for those who do actually possess the skills we need – and bosses are finding ever more inventive ways of retaining their most valuable assets.

“In addition to training and development, flexible working and innovative employee benefits – like eldercare – are essential. They provide the most forward-thinking employers with a clear advantage in the race to boost productivity and secure the future success of their business.

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