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Home > News > June 2006 > 23 June 2006

Skills gap is closing, say employers

Employers have reported a sharp fall in skills gaps, according to the National Employer Skills Survey 2005 (NESS05), released yesterday by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The report, which surveyed 74,500 employers in England, says the skills gap is closing and employers are investing billions of pounds in training and development.

The survey found:

  • The number of employers with a skills gap in their company has fallen from 22 per cent in 2003 to 16 per cent in 2005
  • The number of individuals identified by their employer as having a skills gap has dropped from
  • 11 per cent in 2003 to 6 per cent in 2005
  • Employers in England spent more than £33 Billion on staff training in the last 12 months
  • Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of employers funded or arranged training for their workforce in the previous 12 months
  • 61 per cent of the workforce received some form of training in the previous twelve months

David Way, director of skills at the LSC said: "The findings of the report are good news for business, good news for employees and good news for the economy.

"The report demonstrates that increasingly businesses recognise the critical importance of skills and are investing significantly in training and development to increase their productivity and secure competitive advantage.

"It is clear that we are moving in the right direction, however everyone concerned with the issue of skills needs to recognise that major challenges lie ahead if we are to continue to bridge the skills gap.

"Through Train to Gain, our new skills service for business, we will be giving the type of training support employers say they want. This will benefit thousands of employers and thousands of businesses over the next year."

Skills minister Phil Hope said: "The report gives very encouraging signs that we are delivering on our national skills strategy.

"This Government is determined to give people the skills they need for better jobs and careers and develop a world class workforce.

"The hard work of all our partners in learning and skills, along with the significant investments being made by employers is beginning to pay off. But we know we have a real skills challenge ahead if we are to improve productivity and compete successfully in a global economy."

Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD) said: "This report demonstrates that employers are making a huge commitment to improving skills.

"Employers obviously play a key role in sustaining and improving our economic competitive advantage and the results indicate that they are passionate about driving their businesses and the wider economy forward.

"There is still much to be done to improve the skills base of the UK. We look forward to working closely with the LSC and Government, to address that fact that there are still too many young people lacking basic skills and with inadequate qualifications in this country."

The National Employers Skills Survey 2005 was commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA). It involved 74,835 telephone interviews with employers, undertaken from May to August2005.

External link

Visit the NESS 2005 page at the LSC's website for more information about the report

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