Bridging the skills gap with the Chancellor’s Four E’s
Our recently released e-guide, available here, has already been hugely popular, again proving that tech companies continue to look for ways to grow despite the ongoing skills shortage.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt recently issued a statement setting out his long-term vision to grow the economy, setting his sights on the tech industry and outlining his “four Es” strategy: enterprise, education, employment and everywhere.
His statement was centred around his vision for a more robust tech industry, “I believe that Britain is uniquely placed in the world to become the number one home for tech - one where entrepreneurs have both the stability, but also the freedom, to invest and innovate.” As we reported recently in our e-guide this will only be possible if companies can access the people power they need to grow.
In this article, we look at how some of the key points of the statement relate to the need for continued growth despite the ongoing skills shortages.
The Chancellor’s vision for the UK to become the next Silicon Valley is a persistent theme that echoes his last statement. He said “The UK has an opportunity to be at the forefront of this [technical] revolution, building upon our world-class research infrastructure and open markets to scale up the business titans of the future here in Britain, in everything from AI to quantum, from robotics to biotechnology.”
As we reported in our previous article [link], the ongoing skills shortage and lack of government investment continues to place pressure on tech companies who are struggling to find the talent they need to achieve their ambitions. For business leaders, this is compounded by a recent IMF outlook that forecasts a contraction of the UK economy of 0.6% in 2023.
Despite the IMF’s predictions, Hunt remains positive, "Short-term challenges should not obscure our long-term prospects - the UK outperformed many forecasts last year, and if we stick to our plan to halve inflation, the UK is still predicted to grow faster than Germany and Japan over the coming years."
The Chancellor has reiterated the Prime Minister’s focus on education, with £2.3 billion of additional funding for 23-24 and 24-25 announced in the Autumn statement.
This promises the continued implementation of the government skills reform, placing a new focus on skills training as an alternative to a traditional academic education and providing better support for the 50% of people who either chose or were unable to go to university. The government has already implemented T-levels, boot camps and apprenticeships in an effort to bridge the skills gaps that are prevalent in so many industries.
On the job training, and providing employment alongside skills development, are becoming key strategies for companies wishing to attract and retain the people they need to sustainably grow.
Accelerate from Workforce Consultancy provides a range of flexible options to future proof your talent pipeline, including the deployment of school leavers who we support and train through their early careers. Our learning, development & coaching foundation ensures success for the individual as they embark on their careers at our clients. For the end-employer, Workforce Consultancy delivers the flexibility of temporary staff combined with the stability you would only find with permanent employees.
The third e, Employment, touches on the heart of the matter - the lack of suitable talent - which is preventing companies from hiring the people they need for growth.
Pointing out the impact of the pandemic on employment levels - which has reduced by nearly 300,000 from pre-pandemic levels - Hunt said that it was important to provide “employment opportunities that tap into the potential of every single person so businesses can build the motivated teams they need.”
Whilst well intentioned, this is a rather vague suggestion for companies looking for guidance.
A focus on diversity in talent pipelines will help create a resilient workforce who are able to carry businesses through to the future. Coupling this with a strategy for consistent reskilling of more experienced workers will ensure that companies have access to the skills they need going forward. Resource Solutions have embraced this multi-generational approach, with our skills academies (including our Accelerate offering) enabling meaningful traction at organisations who are genuinely committed to unlocking potential.
With the fourth “e”, everywhere, Hunt pledged to improve the economy across the whole of the UK with “opportunities spread everywhere, just as our talent is spread everywhere.”
With the highest wages continuing to be seen in the South of England, the Chancellor laid out plans to equalise opportunities across the whole of the UK, including improving physical connectivity via projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail and digital connectivity with the continued push for full-fibre broadband availability.
Economic connectivity will be created through investment zones in “high potential but underperforming areas”, however it stands to reason that these hubs will require early careers talent, with new employees needing to be nurtured and supported to fulfil their potential.
Resource Solutions’ Accelerate offering – a key pillar for our Workforce Consultancy practice – is specifically designed to provide this support layer for talent during the early years of their careers. To support businesses with their site strategy, we deploy our proprietary RSheatmaps technology to identify the availability, demographic, experience levels and types of talent that exists within specific target locations, enabling organisations to make informed choices about where to ultimately invest, hire & grow.
The chancellor’s statement four E strategy touches on some important points in the continued battle for bridging the skills gap, but there is a large amount of work to do & whether these policies will come to fruition will be interesting to see.
What is clear is that more importantly than ever, companies need to use innovative and flexible recruitment and hiring strategies to attract and retain reliable tech talent.
If you’d like to find out more about how to navigate the recession and the ongoing skills shortage, read our latest e-guide here.
And of course, if you have any questions about how Workforce Consultancy can help you meet your talent requirements and harness the power of future ready talent, get in touch today.