Lack of skilled candidates means 68.5% of businesses have struggled to recruit in the past 12 months.

Nicky Williams
Head of Skills | Business West
29th June 2018

I’m sure most businesses know the frustrations of trying to fill a gap within their team, only to discover it’s difficult to find anyone with the relevant skills or qualifications.

According to our 2017 Business Skills and Training Survey results, over 68% of companies in the West of England found this an issue when trying to recruit new staff in the past 12 months and alongside this, 55.8% said that it led to an increase in work for their current staff - this inevitably creates stress amongst existing staff and a drop in productivity.

To function effectively businesses need an array of skills, from specific technical capabilities to ‘softer’ skills that generally come from experience of working in a professional environment. Survey results showed that the skills most needed from a business were communication (written and oral), team working, customer service, problem solving and numeracy and analytical but that 52% were struggling to fill any vacancies they had, leaving them short staffed and frustrated.

These results alone make it clear that there is still much work to be done around skills in the workplace, but with only 39.5% of businesses admitting they had a budget for training and 11.4% saying this was the biggest barrier to not enhancing their staff’s skills, how can we tackle this ever growing problem?

Upskilling existing staff through apprenticeships is one option and hiring new staff using this method can also be effective. However, over 64% of businesses said they had not used apprenticeships within their business, citing a lack of time as the main reason. Couple this with the fact that over 50% said they had no knowledge of the apprenticeship levy and it is clear businesses are not aware of the benefits apprenticeships could bring to their workforce, or how to implement these changes.

To be able to make improvements in this area, it’s important to know where businesses need help. With this in mind, we’ve recently launched our 2018 Business Skills and Training Survey which delves deeper into the skills, training and recruitment needs of businesses in the West of England. It can be completed easily online within 10 minutes by following this link: 

Answers will help us to see the bigger picture for the year, feed into the overall West of England Skills Strategy and assist us to work together with training providers to ensure that education provision in the region is relevant to business needs.

Let’s support our future workforce by making the changes now. 

View more results in our 2017 Business Skills and Training Survey infographic.


  • 2017 Survey Results

    Results from our 2017 Business Skills and Training Survey are now available to view. Find out the opinion of businesses in the West of England on skills, training and recruitment.

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