GATWICK DIAMOND BUSINESSES FACING SKILLS GAPS

30 November 2017

Despite the uncertainty around BREXIT, the majority of companies in Sussex and East Surrey are confident about their future, but business leaders have expressed concerns that a growing skills shortage in key roles may hinder their growth.

According to the latest Business Barometer Survey from the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, 68% of those who responded to the survey expect to increase their turnover over the next six months and almost half are looking to increase their staffing levels – of these, 56% recruiting currently.   

Whilst business leaders are confident that they will find sufficient people to fill general positions in their organisations, they are concerned about their ability to fill senior and middle management roles. 

Furthermore, 54% of businesses in the Gatwick Diamond have a specific requirement for employees with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, but almost 60% of them struggle to find experienced STEM employees.   Over 40% of businesses also find it difficult to recruit graduates, technicians and postgraduates with STEM skills and qualifications.

More generally, recruiters are also finding that applicants frequently lack more fundamental qualities such as the right attitude or motivation for work.

Rosemary French OBE, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, says: “Although the mood of local businesses is positive, achieving their growth potential is highly reliant on them being able to access a workforce with the right skills and motivation for work.  The uncertainties surrounding BREXIT and the impact this may have on labour market supply should not be underestimated. 

“The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is working closely with the business community and local schools, colleges, and universities to identify solutions to these skills gaps now and in the future.  In particular, we are looking at the important role of apprenticeships and work based degrees and encouraging employers to recruit from a more diverse pool of workers.”

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