Skills shortage costs British businesses £2bn a year, survey finds

Skills shortages in Britain are costing businesses more than £2bn a year in higher salaries, recruitment costs and temporary staffing bills, according to research by the Open University.

Its survey of 400 firms found 90% had faced difficulties recruiting workers with the required skills in the last 12 months. The findings will add to concerns that employers are already struggling to fill key jobs even before a potential clampdown on immigration once Britain leaves the EU.

Open University researchers noted that unemployment was low, those in work were reluctant to move jobs because of continued Brexit uncertainty and that a lack of clarity about future immigration rules was deterring some EU nationals from taking up roles in Britain.

The Open University poll found about half of employers, or 53%, were unable to find a candidate with the required skills and chose to hire at a lower level as a result. More than half, again 53%, said they were using training to bring those new employees’ skills up to the required level.

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