According to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI’s) latest report,* the shortage of workers that is affecting supply chains across Britain could last for up to two years. From pig farming to programming, leaders have said the lack of skilled staff is disrupting their business. Tony Danker, CBI Director-General said the shortages would harm the UK’s economic recovery.

Marrying skills policies to roles with the highest unfilled vacancies, adding greater flexibility to the Apprenticeship Levy and using the Government’s own skill-focused immigration levers to alleviate short-term pressures, are three things the UK Government can do now, the CBI has stated.

Alan Hiddleston, director of corporate learning at D2L, the global learning provider, offered the following statement:

“The UK is currently facing a skills crisis on two fronts. First, the pandemic and remote working economy have revealed the state of the digital skills deficit. In addition, businesses are faced with one of the most complex talent shortages since 1997. The rush to reopen society, coupled with the departure of many overseas workers as a result of Brexit negotiations and COVID restrictions on international travel, have left serious talent gaps throughout major industries, including the transport sector, hospitality, and construction.

“Though the UK government recently launched its Professional Qualifications Bill, which recognises the qualifications of foreign professionals entering the UK, more action is needed to propel our economic recovery and provide some security for UK businesses. Furloughed and prospective workers will need to be reskilled and upskilled if we are to navigate this skills gap and talent shortage.

“Greater collaboration is needed among policy makers, government leaders and businesses. Micro-credentials and continuous learning programmes that allow workers to essentially ‘stack’ or top up their skills – are becoming an increasingly viable approach. In an ideal scenario, HR and L&D teams would work together, potentially alongside educational institutions, to build more comprehensive training modules that are specific to individual job roles and prepare students for the workplace. Only then could we tackle the talent crisis and kick-start our economic recovery.”