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Karen Martin and Beverley Ireland-Symonds promote the value of having effective communication skills for individuals, teams and organisations.
Thursday, 18 November 2010

Who will fill the UK skills gaps?

It was announced today that the government has been advised to cut the number of non EU migrant workers allowed into the UK by up to a quarter, but what impact will this have on the UK economy?

According to a recent article in People Management, employers are having to turn to migrant workers to fill skills gaps – this includes EU and non-EU migrant workers. As the UK economy starts to recover, this is becoming even more of a necessity as it’s hard to fill certain vacancies with UK workers. Out of the 600 employers who completed the CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook survey, almost half said they had vacancies which were hard to fill, particularly in IT, accountancy, finance and engineering.

The proposed introduction of a 'migration cap' by the government has been worrying a number of employers for some time, so today’s news is not going to be welcomed by all. This could impact considerably on the ability of some companies to recover from the economic downturn. Even though the number of UK graduates struggling to find work is on the increase, many employers are still finding it difficult to fill skilled vacancies.

Back in September this year, Vince Cable, Business Secretary, stated that if some employers are unable to fill vacancies they may be forced to move some of their operations overseas. According to Cable, any immigration cap that is introduced needs to be flexible enough to, 'meet companies’ skills requirements and the economy’s growth needs.' I’m sure lots of business leaders will be questioning just how ‘flexible’ today’s news is for the UK.

If the UK wants to address these skills shortages then something has got to be done to ensure that people are coming out of universities and colleges with the skills that are needed. This is not a new problem, yet not enough seems to have been done to ensure that businesses and the education sector are working collaboratively.

Should UK businesses be putting more pressure on the government to review immigration policies?