Mind the gap: tackling the skills shortage

A high-quality, motivated and skilled workforce is the most critical determinant of business success in any industry. If your business is struggling to recruit enough staff with the right skills and experience, it’s not alone.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem for small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK today. 13.3% of businesses surveyed by the ONS reported experiencing a shortage of workers.

In August 2022, The Federation of Small Businesses found that 78% of small firms faced difficulties recruiting applicants with suitable skills in the previous 12 months.

How can you manage the skills shortage?

Here are some approaches to consider if you’re facing a shortage of skilled workers in your business:

Training and re-education—upskill workers to expand their skill sets, particularly in response to evolving digital tools and technology. Investing time and resources into staff is a huge opportunity to make the most of the workers you already have.

Support management to identify and address staff training needs with the appropriate development programmes, working with an external training provider if necessary.

Improving the training available to existing employees benefits the company. It opens up opportunities to workers previously hired at a lower level.

Retention—retaining staff doesn’t have to mean offering more pay. Flexible working, or recognition through increased annual leave, can be just as attractive to some.

Offer clear career paths—seeing a focused route for progression and commitment will incentivise people to work for your company.

Grow your own talent—The Open University encourages businesses to think ahead and grow their own talent to give their future workforce the skills needed for success. In its Business Barometer 2022 report, 22% of respondents said they had used apprenticeships.

There’s evidence employers intend to invest more in these programmes to address skills shortages, with 32% expected to increase the number of apprentices in the next twelve months.

CEDA’s Apprenticeship Standard was developed to attract and retain the next generation of commercial catering engineers.

The Commercial Catering Equipment Technicians Apprenticeship Standard enables individuals to achieve nationally recognised formal qualifications. Delivered through a highly supported, relevant, industry-specific learning programme, it equips them with the necessary skills to become excellent employees.

Re-think your approach to recruitment—continuing the theme of growing your own talent, consider hiring staff who don’t necessarily have all the correct requirements but help them grow into the role. Or, you could try hiring candidates with all the right skills but perhaps less experience than you initially sought.

How you find talent—there’s an increasing trend to develop a pipeline of talent through engagement with schools and career activity in their local community.

Work with freelancers—possibly one of the easiest ways to solve problems with skills shortages. With freelancers, consultants, contractors and more, you can fill gaps quickly and cost-effectively. Their expertise, availability and flexibility allow them to work within any timeframe, budget, and project.

Here to help

Robust risk management is critical to mitigating the effects of staff shortages.

Arrange a meeting with your Marsh Commercial account executive to discuss any of the points raised in this email or learn more about our menu of risk management services.

Contact Leah Gregory on 07385 482545 or email leah.gregory@marshcommercial.co.uk.

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