The survey, ‘Exploring the educational skills gap’, surveyed over 100 business leaders and HR professionals and was designed to establish their views with regard to the perceived skills gap between school-leavers, graduates and business. Over four in five (83%) respondents stated that many new graduates and school leavers lack the basic skills necessary for work, highlighting a worrying trend for UK businesses and other employers.
The size of the skills gap between those offered by job applicants and those required by organisations varies depending on the subject area. Over two thirds (67%) of respondents said there is a large gap in management skills, 58% finance, 41% numeracy, 35% literacy, 32% trades and 21% information technology. With nearly all respondents (96%) acknowledging that a well-trained workforce makes a large contribution in enabling an organisation to succeed during an economic downturn, companies are already offering, or are planning to offer, training in these basic skills.
Commenting on the research, Gareth Walters, sales and marketing director at IMC (UK) Learning Ltd, says: “The results of the survey make for some worrying reading. It is clear that business leaders are concerned about education standards and their affect on UK business and ultimately the country’s competitiveness. Now more than ever it is important for organisations to provide an effective training programme to bring new employees up to speed in core areas.
“Skills such as literacy, numeracy and IT can be learned through flexible training options with minimal time out of the office. A blended learning approach using a mixture of classroom-based training, eLearning and informal learning can help to bridge the skills gap for school leavers and new graduates. This will also ensure the organisation has a well-trained workforce and maintains its competitiveness in the current economic downturn.”