Are We Developing the Right Skills for Growth?


The following blog was published on 19th March 2019.


As a nation, our productivity ‘problem’ is well-documented. In fact, the Office for National Statistics reported a mere 0.2% growth in economic output between July and September last year, marking our weakest period since 2016.


The UK employs the greatest proportion of low-skilled workers in the G7 – but why is this?


We’ve had years of ploughing investment into education, pushing standards up and driving excellence in schools and universities, so what are we missing and where are the gaps?


Clearly, something is misaligned and such disparity is highlighted by simply looking at skills and training against employer demand.


For example, our recent research showed a massive oversupply of graduates in the gaming industry, with more 2,500 people fighting for just 930 jobs in 2017 alone. On the other hand, we had a severe lack of data scientists, with 400 graduates for more than 8,600 advertised jobs.


So, do we know the questions to ask when looking at solving such an imbalance and do we really know what the UK economy needs to flourish?


Using our new app, IDM Work Insights™, which is designed to identify the skills employers are looking for via job adverts, we can look at demand hotspots to show locations’ differing needs to fuel economic growth.


Surprisingly, the most advertised jobs in 2018 were within the nursing sector, with the greatest demand lying in areas such as Salford, Greater Manchester and Camden, North West London. Cambridge, Bristol and Manchester had the greatest demand for scientists while, overall, there was very little need across elementary agricultural occupations.


Such data opens up the opportunity for policy makers to look at skills agendas and assess where the gaps are, allowing them to put training measures in place that are tailored by region.


So, isn’t it time our business growth policies and, indeed, our education and training programmes, truly reflected – and met – those needs?