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Employer leadership needed to solve skills crisis

Better connections are needed between the worlds of employment and education, and clearer paths 'from shop floor to senior management', if the UK economy is to overcome the serious structural challenges it faces.

Traditional career paths are 'either vanishing or becoming much harder to navigate', as the number of roles needing mid-level skills, such as clerical or secretarial jobs, has declined.

As a result, too many people are getting trapped in low-paid, low-productivity jobs, without access to the training, skills or opportunity to make the advancements they need.

Five-point plan

This is according to a report from UKCES Growth Through People, which puts forward five recommendations to get employers to drive change by:

  1. leading on skills development with the support of Government and through collaboration between business, unions and workforces
  2. improving productivity through better management, job design and employee engagement
  3. providing more 'earning and learning' routes into employment like apprenticeships
  4. making work experience an integral part of education
  5. measuring success based a wider set of outcomes than just qualifications.

It called for industry-wide collaboration and employer-led partnerships to create a workforce with the right skills and training.

Other research recently found that 43 per cent of employers with entry-level vacancies said candidates were lacking basic skills for employability, such as literacy, numeracy and a work-ready attitude.

Stronger social partnerships

'We need to build stronger social partnerships across the country to deliver a new localism where skills and employment services are better joined up and where employers can work with colleges, universities and other providers to find the skills solutions which support better progression in work and higher productivity,' Peter Cheese, CEO of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, said.

'Sustainable and inclusive economic growth will only come about in the next decade if we can motivate and incentivise more people to invest in their own skills, matched by and supported by employers and the Government.' 

We must give confidence to learners and employers that their investment of time and money will result in better jobs, higher pay and increased productivity.'

Acas publications and services

Acas has published pdf icon Managing Future Talent - A guide for employers [1Mb], which aims to share good practice about how to create a workplace in which young employees can thrive.

The pdf icon Recruiting staff guide [360kb] has all you need to know about recruitment, selection and implementation of induction programmes.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and review your existing recruitment and induction procedures. See Recruitment and Retention: how Acas can help for more details.

Acas also offers practical training on Recruitment, based on its own guidance, taking you through the legal and best practice elements of fair and effective recruitment.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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