Skills gap remains top concern for UK SMEs

Albion Ventures, a private equity house that focuses on the small business sector, this week published research that showed that a lack of skilled staff is the biggest single issue facing the UK’s small businesses.  26% of SMEs reported a significant shortfall in marketing skills, followed by new technology (21%) and business planning (17%).

The Albion Growth report is built on interviews with 1000 SMEs and takes the temperature of the UK’s small business sector. Manufacturers in particular are suffering serious shortfalls, with the industry reporting the highest level of concern about finding skilled staff, followed by those in the technology & telecoms sector and construction businesses in third place. Incidentally, the smallest skills gap is in financial management, with only 9% of small business owners reporting problems.

 

“Real skills are in short supply”

Patrick Reeve, Managing Partner at Albion Ventures: “A shortage of skilled staff shows that the growth pressures on the economy are at the most sophisticated end of the scale, which is precisely where we can expect to generate the biggest returns.  The economy is coming under capacity constraints at a time of considerable political uncertainty.”

The report also points out that there is no issue with the supply of unskilled workers – that concern has dropped to number 15 on the list.

“Policymakers charged with deciding our post-Brexit future must recognise that many of the skills that enable us to compete in a fast-changing and increasingly competitive world are in short supply and our best chance of overcoming this challenge is by building on the UK’s first class reputation as a home for global talent,” Reeve concluded.