UK Skills Shortfalls Need to be Fixed

Last week the UK Commission for Employment and Skills brought together over 40 of the world’s leading employment and skills experts for a two day conference to help tackle the serious shortcomings of the UK’s competitiveness in the world economy.

Despite the economy having just emerged from recession, the UK Commission’s figures indicate the UK falls well short of the international competition in several key areas:

  • The UK is ranked 17th on ‘low’ level skills; 18th on ‘intermediate’ level skills and 12th on ‘high’ level skills
  • 1 in 8 adults of working age have no qualifications
  • More than a quarter of working adults are not qualified to GCSE level or equivalent
  • Half have no qualifications above GCSE level

The report, ‘‘Ambition 2020: World Class Skills and Jobs”, also suggests that on current trends, by 2020 we are likely to have slipped to 23rd on low level skills (17th now); 21st on intermediate level skills (18th now); and 10th on high level skills (12th now). Overall, the international skills gap between the UK and other top countries is widening rather than closing.

The Skills, Jobs, Growth Summit.

The Skills, Jobs and Growth conference was set out over two days, with the first focussing on the global skills challenge and successful policy from across the world, whilst the second interrogates the practical learning from this for future policy innovation in the UK. Speakers included experts from China, the United States, Singapore, Australia and Finland as well as leading skills, labour, migration and employment experts in the UK.

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