Skills shortages leave 17,000 of south-west’s jobs unfilled

By Anita Jaynes on 24 March, 2016

New research has found that nearly a quarter of jobs in the south-west are difficult to fill because of skills shortages – higher than anywhere else in the country apart from the south-east.

The Employer Skills Survey, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, interviewed over 91,000 establishments across the UK – 8,500 of them in the south-west.  The findings, published today, show that there are over 70,000 job openings in the region, with around 17,000 of them difficult to fill because of a lack of skilled recruits.

The research also finds that 27% of establishments in the region report “underutilisation” of their staff – in other words, they have at least one member of staff with higher levels of skills and knowledge than are necessary for the job.

Alex Thornton, senior research manager at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills said:

“The South West has one of the most diverse economies in the UK – famous for everything from aerospace to agriculture.

“It also suffers from high levels of inequality.  That’s why every unfilled vacancy represents a loss – not just to the employer and the person who might be looking for a job, but also for the economy as a whole.  The UK’s productivity levels are already well behind many of our international competitors.  Having vacancies unfilled because employers can’t find people they think are up to the job makes it difficult for local businesses to grow, and to ensure the benefits of this diverse economy are felt by all. Employers coming together with education and training providers can help with some of these issues, to really invest in the skills the local area needs.”