Press release

UK Commission for Employment and Skills calls for employers to act now to help avert 'skills crisis'

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) calls for employers to do more to help young people into work, following new findings from HSBC and the Prince's Trust.


Responding to results from a new poll by the Prince’s Trust and HSBC, released today, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) is warning employers that the time to act is now in order to avert a skills crisis in the next 12 months.

The findings highlight that 43% of employers questioned in the poll believe a significant skills crisis will hit the UK in the next year, while almost three quarters (73%) think it may happen in the next three years.

Almost three quarters (72%) signalled recruiting young people as ‘vital’ to preventing this shortage, reflecting UKCES calls for employers to take more action to recruit young people to tackle their skills needs.

Alex Curling, Assistant Director at UKCES said:

It is welcome news that so many businesses are seeing the recruitment of young people as the answer to this problem, but employers must now turn words into action to resolve this issue.

Young people can bring a wealth of benefits to any business, but are desperately in need of more opportunities from employers to get into employment – our research has consistently highlighted that the main reason employers fail to recruit young people is a lack of experience, yet less than a third (27%) are prepared to offer work experience opportunities to young people.

This leaves talented young people trapped in an impossible Catch-22. It is vital that employers take up this challenge, give young people the opportunities they need and avert any future skills crisis before it has a chance to develop.

Findings from the UKCES’ recent publication, Precarious Futures: Youth Employment in an international context, show that while employment rates have recovered for those in their mid 30s to late 40s, almost 500,000 16 to 24-year-olds still need to find their way into work for employment rates of young people to return to pre-recession levels.

The report also refers to findings from the UKCES’ Employer Skills Survey – based on interviews with over 91,000 UK employers - showing that 83% of employers who take on graduates find them well or very well prepared for work, with two thirds (66%) of employers recruiting 17 to 18-year-old school leavers finding them well prepared for the world of work.

Greater collaboration between employers and education providers can also open pathways for young people and ensure they are entering the workplace with the skills they need to thrive. UKCES and Universities UK are partnering on Forging Futures research, due for release this September, which is set to highlight that collaboration between employers and universities results in businesses employing people with the right skills, at the right level, at the right time – bringing significant benefits to students, employers, universities and the wider economy.

Published 6 August 2014