Skills shortage threat to future

Professionals: Firms want George Osborne's vision to work, but they need skills
Professionals: Firms want George Osborne's vision to work, but they need skills
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A shortage of skilled candidates is threatening to de-rail the Northern Powerhouse, business leaders and recruitment experts have warned.

A survey by Manpower says many employers in the North West are looking to take on new workers in the third quarter of the year – but a shortage of candidates could hold them back.

We see skills shortages as the single biggest barrier to the north’s growth across all sectors

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers.

It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government.

Greg Hollis, operations manager at Manpower, said: “We see skills shortages as the single biggest barrier to the north’s growth across all sectors.

“While many employers in the south can rely on a steady supply of workers, there are far fewer qualified candidates in the north. From salespeople and experienced administrators, to contact centre roles – employers in the North West are facing real challenges in obtaining the skills they need.

“George Osborne may dream of a Northern Powerhouse, but the reality will be a Northern power cut if we don’t see more talent coming into the market,”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Employers consistently tell us that there is a mismatch between what they are looking for in their staff, and the skills, experience and attitude offered by too many prospective candidates.

“The Prime Minister regularly refers to a global race, yet the NWLCC believes that in the 21st century, it is the countries with the most skilled workforces – both young and old – that will be the ultimate winners. Government, schools, colleges and employers must all work together in the coming months and years to ensure that the North West has a workforce that is ‘fit for purpose’. Failure to do so risks consigning generation after generation to a less prosperous future.”