Press release

Boost for Welsh economy, but employers struggle to find the skills they need

Data from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills' Employer Skills Survey 2013 shows signs of growth for Wales, but calls for more to be done to combat skills shortages.

Employer Skills Survey

Job vacancies across Wales have seen a 14 per cent increase over the past two years, new research shows, allowing more people to get into the jobs market.

The findings, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ (UKCES) latest Employer Skills Survey, show that the job market in Wales is on the up, with 3,000 more vacancies available in 2013 compared to 2011.

However, the survey also shows that skills shortage vacancies - or job vacancies where employers are unable to find a recruit with the right skills to do the job - have also risen, with employers struggling to fill one fifth of all vacancies.

Skilled trade occupations are among the worst affected by skills shortages, with employers unable to fill almost half (44%) of vacancies due to a lack of relevant skills.

Scott Waddington, CEO of SA Brain and Co, and UKCES commissioner for Wales said: “It is clear that more jobs mean more opportunities for people to get back to work, and although this is positive news an increase in vacancies which employers are unable to fill due to skills problems is obviously concerning.

Offering regular, relevant training can provide just one way of combatting this issue. If employers are continually developing the skills of their workforce more people are given opportunities to progress in their work, and more employers have access to the talent they need.

Closer links between employers and training providers can also offer a solution to this issue. By creating more collaboration between both sides we can ensure future skills shortages are avoided, with employers giving training providers accurate information on the skills they need, and education providers tailoring courses to create more employable recruits.

The growing importance of ensuring workers have the right skills has also been highlighted – as nine out of ten employers with a skills shortage vacancy said a lack of new recruits with the right skills is leading to increased workloads for other employees.

The research also found:

  • Skills shortage vacancies more than doubled from 12 per cent in 2011 to 28 per cent in 2013 in care and leisure occupations
  • Admin roles also saw a sharp rise in such vacancies - increasing from 6 per cent to 16 per cent in the same period.
  • Employers in Wales provided the lowest levels of training of any UK nation, with just 62 per cent saying they had provided training in the last 12 months, compared to the UK average of 66 per cent.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said:

The findings of the Employer Skills Survey show a welcome rise in job vacancies in Wales. That is good news for both our jobs market and the Welsh economy.

However it is a concern that we’ve seen a rise in skills shortage vacancies.

Although this trend has been seen across the UK, it shows that we as Government must focus our efforts on supporting the skills that employers value whilst also encouraging employers and individuals to invest alongside us in developing those skills.

“As the survey findings so clearly demonstrate, the stakes are high and the Welsh economy will lose out if we don’t take action now. That’s why, next month, we will be launching our Skills Implementation Plan, which sets out the action we intend to take in developing the skills of the Welsh workforce and increasing levels of skills investment.

Whilst we will be working closely with employers to address their skills needs, we want to ensure that skills investment is seen as a shared responsibility.

If the Welsh economy is to continue to grow then we must ensure employers, individuals and the Welsh Government work together and invest in the right skills for success

To read the findings visit the UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2013: Wales page.

Published 4 June 2014