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News & Views

Employers struggle with skills mix
According to the latest quarterly ‘Demand for Skilled Talent’ report from recruitment specialists Robert Half (, employers are struggling to find employees with the right mix of skills, with the majority having to focus on reskilling and upskilling existing employees to meet evolving business needs.  Despite this, 86% of businesses in the UK feel confident about growth prospects for H2 2021 (a rise of 10% since January 2021).

While the business climate remains mixed, the majority of managers surveyed indicated that the pandemic has created opportunities for expansion and growth, with new hiring demand being driven predominantly by manufacturing, retail, and logistics sectors as these sectors open up again.  In addition, Robert Half’s research shows a shift in the sectors driving hiring demand for the UK with pharmaceuticals and IT services sectors dropping out of the top five in H2 compared to the first half of the year.

“Our newest employment market data shows a shift as we move into what we hope will be the latter stage of the pandemic cycle, and a return to a more confident and secure labour market for employees and employers alike.  Businesses have been forced to expedite digitization initiatives and have found a wealth of new growth opportunities through that evolution,” says Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half.

“As businesses continue towards growth and recovery, Robert Half has seen staffing concerns centre on reskilling and upskilling, which has driven demand for candidates with hybrid skills (26%) and digital skills (26%).  That’s not to say the current climate hasn't taken its toll on the UK's workforce.  Over a third (37%) of workers are suffering from burnout and low morale.  To maximise future expansion opportunities, employers will need to support teams by continuing to offer remote and flexible working to bring work-life balance back into equilibrium.”

“The pace of skill change globally continues to accelerate,” adds Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass Technologies.  “Tech, digital and data handling skills continue to be in ever-increasing demand across all sectors.  The development and use of hardware, software, e-commerce apps and cloud-based collaboration platforms, as examples, are no longer solely the preserve of dedicated IT departments as virtually all areas of business are becoming highly dependent on the use of technology in their day-to-day operations.  From a business perspective, all managers need to foster a culture of constant learning for workers to remain agile, adaptable and sufficiently skilled in order to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation.”

Presented in association with Burning Glass Technologies, the latest quarterly Robert Half report ‘Demand for Skilled Talent’ was compiled using interview data sourced from 300 UK senior executives of various sized private and public organizations in April 2021, and worker data from online surveys conducted by Robert Half between April-May 2021.
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