Nearly three quarters of SMEs in the UK are suffering from a ‘skills gap’ in their business, a new survey has claimed.
According to specialist lender Aldemore, four in 10 (39%) SMEs report a need to employ more people in order to grow over the next five years. Carl D’Ammassa, Aldermore’s group managing director, Business Finance, said that companies currently affected by this issue are clearly working hard to address the skills shortage.
“However, as firms continue to grow and if the labour market continues to tighten, this issue will become even more pronounced and will affect an increasing proportion of businesses. This persisting issue will consequently harm business growth by eroding profit margins due to soaring employment costs, unless firms adopt robust measures to protect themselves against it.
Businesses looking inwards to address skills needs
Of the firms that have already acted to address their skills shortfall, 43% have chosen to introduce additional training programmes for staff, which, according Aldemore, highlights that many employers prefer to update the skills of their existing workforce than hire from outside.
But work remains to be done: “Firms must act now to introduce processes to reduce this risk in the long-term, regardless of whether they are currently facing a skills gap or not. Inaction now could come back to bite them in the future,” said D’Ammassa.
“Companies should think about how to retain skilled staff, organise succession for retiring employees and train people according to the company’s needs, in order to achieve their future growth aspirations.”