Today sees the launch of a joint report from City & Guilds Group and Emsi, which aims to shine a light on the reality of the UK’s skills and productivity crisis. Missing Millions combines Emsi’s data on the current state of the labour market across the country, with the results of City & Guilds’ survey of 5,000 working age people, building a picture of the untapped potential of millions of working age people in the UK, and what can be done about it.
As productivity continues to stagnate, it’s widely understood that businesses and Government need to prepare to meet the demands of the workplace of the future and ensure the country has the skilled workforce it will need over the next decade. However, the research reveals that people across the nation are being denied access to training and opportunities to upskill that would enable them to be more productive.
For instance, only 53% of those polled have received workplace training in the last three years, with 34% saying they have either never received training, or did so more than five years ago. The lack of opportunity for skills development leads to only 33% of the UK working age population feeling positive about their future career prospects. In addition to this, 60% of respondents stated that they felt the skills they did have were underutilised at least 50% of the time, suggesting that employers are not fully capitalising on the skills they already have within their businesses.
In terms of the state of the labour market, Emsi’s data reveals big disparities across the Combined Authority regions that were studied. For instance, whilst the growth in high skilled jobs in London from 2011-2019 was 22.9%, in Liverpool and Tees Valley growth was just 9.5% and 4.5% respectively. Whilst 46.3% of the working age population in the West of England hold a qualification of NVQ4 and above, in the West Midlands the figure is just 30.5%. What this underlines is the need for localised solutions to the productivity and skills problem which, whilst affecting the nation as a whole, looks very different in each area.
The conclusions of the report urge the following actions:
- Employers need to invest in skills development for people at all ages and levels of their career. They also need to get better at recognising and utilising people’s full skillsets.
- Individuals need to start looking for more opportunities to upskill themselves outside of the workplace or put themselves forward for training at work, as well as showcasing their full range of skills to employers, both current and potential.
- Government and policy makers need to urgently review adult education and create a system that encourages lifelong learning, retraining and reskilling. They need to provide better careers guidance and advice to people at all stages of their career.
According to Kirstie Donnelly, Interim CEO at City & Guilds Group:
“Over the last decade, we have witnessed continued cuts to adult education funding, which has meant that certain groups of people have effectively been ‘left behind’. As the impact of Artificial Intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution continues to totally reshape the labour market, we need to see urgent action from the Government to reverse the decline of the lifelong learning sector — ensuring people in all areas have access to critical skills development and employers have access to the talent they so desperately need.”
Andy Durman, Managing Director, Emsi UK, commented:
“This report emphasises two crucial factors to enable us to tap into the nation’s skills potential and make progress on closing the skills gap and boosting productivity. Firstly, because there are big differences in labour markets across the country, solutions must be locally relevant and based on a good understanding of employment needs at the local level. Secondly, because people are changing careers more rapidly than ever, and careers themselves are changing due to factors such as automation, we need to see education providers, economic developers and employers all coming together to promote the concept of lifelong learning, where people can add to their core skills throughout their working lives.”
Anthony Impey MBE, Serial entrepreneur & Chair of the Skills Policy Unit, Federation of Small Businesses commented:
“As this research highlights, in society many people’s skills are underutilised. There are no quick fixes but there are things that employers can do such as looking in new places to find talent, as seemingly different jobs require many of the same skills, as well as embedding flexible working practices and make training available to people at all ages and stages of their careers.”
You can read an interactive summary of the report here, or download the full report here or by clicking on the image above. Why not also join us for our 2020 Conference, where we’ll be looking at many of the themes around skills addressed in Missing Millions. To find out more and to register your place, click the button below.