Impact of Skills Shortages – UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2015

Thursday, February 25, 2016
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) recently published their latest Employer Skills Survey for 2015.

They found a substantial growth in the number of employers active in the recruitment market in 2015 compared to 2013: with 19% of businesses having at least one current vacancy, up from 15 per cent in 2013. This was a 42% increase in the number of vacancies reported.

Within this buoyant labour market, skill-shortage vacancies presented a growing challenge for employers: 6% of all employers had at least one skill-shortage vacancy at the time of the survey, a significant increase from previous reports. This represents an increase of 130% in the number of job vacancies that are hard to fill due to a lack of available skills in the last four years.

A lack of skills in the labour market is seriously impacting the bottom-line: with increased workloads for other staff, difficulties meeting customer service objectives and the loss of business to competitors being the main impact of the shortages. Of those employers who had difficulty recruiting to vacancies, the impact of the skills shortages are given in the chart below:


The types of skills lacking in the labour market included management and leadership skills, as well as complex analytical skills. These types of skills are important when considering the productivity of the workforce and the ability of establishments to innovate through the introduction of new technologies and working practices.

If you have such skills shortages within your business you might want to consider a recent graduate.  What are the benefits of a recent graduate?

1. New talent – it’s always good to bring in fresh ideas and a new perspective, and graduates bring with them recent knowledge from University and don’t suffer from a “we’ve always done it that way” mentality. You’ll benefit from their flexibility, creativity and motivation to grasp a new opportunity.
2. They’re affordable – average starting salaries are lower than you might think at under £20k in most roles.
3. Train them your way – new graduates are ready to learn: it’s what they’ve been doing at University and they will continue to do so when they join you!
4. Future proof your business – entry level graduates can rapidly become your managers of the future.  They tend to seek out responsibility and take ownership of their work.  It is something they’ve had to do to get a degree. Graduates want careers, and if you develop them in house you’ll benefit from that too.
5. Your Return on Investment is well established – graduates generate business growth, improving your bottom line.

All the research shows that graduates make your business more productive, help it grow and improve profit. Why would you not do something that makes you money!

So if you are looking to recruit skilled staff, contact us at and we can help you find a great graduate!


Dr Deborah Watson

Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.


Further information and the full report: