UK Skills Gap Continues to Cause Small Business Headaches

Over half of the UK’s small and medium firms believe the skills shortage will cause issues in the long-run, yet only 5% plan to hire an apprentice

UK Skills Gap Continues to Cause Small Business Headaches

The UK’s skills gap continues to cause small businesses problems with 31% admitting that at least one of their current employee doesn’t have the skills their business needs, the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer (CBBB) has found.

Looking to future growth55% of the businesses surveyed have predicted that they won’t be able to find suitable employees because of a skills shortage in their industry (43%) or region (12%).

Despite this concern, of the small firms looking to take on staff in 206, only 5% plan to take on an apprentice. Furthermore, 75% of small businesses were found to not have an apprentice programme in place and over half (52%) don’t plan on launching one.

According to the CBBB, which interviewed900 small and medium-sized business owners, the top reason for not employing an apprentice or starting an apprentice scheme were concerns over the costs involved – as stated by 49% of the survey respondents.

Other barriers to hiring an apprentice including regulations (listed by 19%) and a lack of resources needed for training (14%).

CEO of Close Brothers Banking Division, Stephen Hodges, commented:

“Our data shows a worrying trend amongst small and medium enterprises. Despite a clear need for more skilled workers, hiring apprentices to address this simply isn’t possible for the majority of small and medium companies.

“We see the issues of cost, red tape and a lack of time also affecting many aspects of growth amongst the thousands of small and medium businesses we work with.”

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