The great skills shortage challenge – Indigo 21


The great skills shortage challenge

The great skills shortage challenge

July 5, 2023

The shortage occupation list in the UK is a sobering read. From IT systems designers to web design professionals, there is a huge shortage of skilled people to fill a growing number of roles in many different industries.

But what are the longer-term challenges of a skills shortage in both the UK and beyond? We explored what it might mean for businesses around the world.

What challenges do businesses face?

At the heart of the problem is people, and the lack of people in work. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported official vacancies in the UK at a record high of 1.2 million. Add to that the specific list of vacancies — the skills shortage occupation list — that goes into detail about the roles employers are struggling to fill. The ones that stand out most are those in various IT support professions, and more surprisingly, web design professionals. Specifically, the roles we were surprised to see were:

  • Programmers and software development professionals
  • Web design and development professionals
  • IT systems designers

Being in the IT industry for two decades has taught us a thing or two about skilled people and where to find them. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see industries struggling as a result of unfilled roles. Not only are these roles in demand, but a lack of skilled professionals will have a wider impact than just the direct pressures on a business. Whole industries can potentially suffer as the result of skills shortages.

What is the impact of the skills shortage?

Thinking beyond the bottom line, the skills shortage will have a profound impact on businesses in many other ways.

The impact on recruitment

On average, it takes 42 days to recruit a new member of staff to any organisation — and that’s classed as a successful timescale! If the skills shortage is as dire as it sounds, then that recruitment cycle will take even longer. Businesses stuck without enough skilled people on payroll will certainly struggle against their competitors.

The impact on teams

The skills shortage can lead to your existing staff picking up the slack, too. A poll of 1300 UK employers, conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), found that 68% of employers were experiencing a skills shortage and that 72% said their existing staff were experiencing an increased workload.

The impact on growth

A shortage of skills means a shortage of people, or your existing teams being overworked. And with fewer people, businesses can’t grow at pace or scale up. And if businesses can’t grow, then they can rapidly stagnate and fall behind the industry. When you consider the specific IT service skills reportedly missing from many organisations, some businesses may even be missing entire departments. Possible solutions include investing in training, new technologies, and leadership, but those investments alone won’t solve the growth problem.

The impact on profits

Finally, looking at the cost in pounds and pence, in the simplest terms: fewer people mean fewer sales. And less money in the bank can lead to less innovation, meaning businesses can and will slow down if they’re unable to match the pace of agile businesses fully equipped with skilled people. The poll by BCC also found that 78% of employers surveyed had seen reduced profitability or growth as a result of the skills shortage.

So how can you and your business avoid the skills shortage and lack of skilled talent in the market? Where do you go to find the right people to help your business flourish?

How BPO can solve skills shortages

After the initial solution of upskilling and training your existing staff to fill skills gaps, and entering a difficult recruitment cycle, the next step is looking beyond your immediate surroundings and choosing business process outsourcing (BPO).

Depending on what processes you choose to outsource, you can benefit from skilled and capable agile teams, available 24/7 in Manila, Philippines. The country holds 70% of the world’s BPO sector, and more than 1.3 million people are employed in BPO services in the Philippines.

With outsourcing, you can avoid the negative impact on recruitment, growth and profits threatened by the skills shortage in the UK and tap into one of the most vibrant and rapidly growing sectors in the Philippines.

For more information, get in touch.


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