Head-in-sand bosses creating 'skills timebomb'

Sep 14 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Complacent employers ignoring the training needs of their staff could pose a long-term threat to Britain's economy, a study has warned.

Six out of 10 employers admitted problems are looming as their workforce ages while the level of training remains static, according to the report, commissioned by the training body Skills for Business.

The study of more than 13,000 UK employers found that two-thirds of employers admitted to having problems recruiting new employees with the skills they needed. Yet six out of 10 employers did not provide yearly training plans for their employees.

Half of employers believed the skills required by UK workers had remained unchanged, despite rapid technological advances and the increasing threat of international competition.

Professor Mike Campbell, director of research at Skills for Business, said: "Complacent employers could pose a serious threat to the future of the UK's economy.

"With the age of our skilled workforce rising and many employers failing to train enough of their staff, we are sitting on a skills timebomb," he added.

"Our productivity levels are already 8 per cent lower than the EU average, amounting to some £80 billion of lost output to our economy. If this situation continues, there is a very real risk that it could have serious economic implications for the future prosperity of the UK."

Skills for Business is the network of Sector Skills Councils and covers around four out of five workers in the UK.

It works with employers and training providers to improve the provision of employer-friendly training throughout the UK.