Bosses around the world are struggling to find workers with the key skills they need to help their business grow, according to a new report.
The report by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) reveals that 65% of CEOs in Britain want the government to come up with initiatives to develop a better skilled workforce.
The report does not reveal what key skills those employees are looking for, but Steve Holliday, chief executive of the UK’s National Grid Group, is quoted as saying that not enough youngsters are studying technology, science, maths and engineering to help fuel future growth in industry.
The report reveals that it’s not just in the UK where there is an acute skills shortage, with 58% of chief executives around the world pointing to the same problem.
The issue is the second most important for firms, after the worries over an increasing tax burden, with of bosses in Africa (82%), the Middle East (69%) and the Asia pacific (64%) all saying they struggle to recruit skilled staff.
Many governments predict solving the problem will present a lot of hard work. Only 15% of chief executives believed that their government had done anything creative to build a skilled workforce and 57% said all governments should tackle the problem as a priority.
Chief executives said they were planning to increase investment in their workforce in the next three years, with 61% saying they are doing so to tackle their skills shortage.
The industries with the biggest problems in recruiting skilled workers are energy, construction, engineering and mining.
Michael Rendell, PwC’s head of human resource services, said: “There is a widening gulf between the skills a business needs to achieve strong growth and the actual skills of their workforce.
“To address this growing problem, businesses and governments will have to take up a joint approach to plug the skills gap.”
He added that with most businesses putting growth at the top of their agendas, they have a need for more investment in employee development and training.
The report also reveals good news with more businesses planning to hire than lay-off staff this year, with 45% they were looking to increase their headcount with 23% planning to make cuts.
Other highlights in the report include the intentions of firms in how they are going to manage talent in the coming year with 77% of chief executives saying they are going to change their strategy.
Many firms are increasingly finding it difficult to find talent with those in Brazil, Korea and South Africa admitting they were going to change their strategies compared with those in Eastern and Central Europe indicating they are less likely to do so.