Three quarters of British businesses hit by staff shortages squeeze

·2 min read
Staff hiring has now become a major issue for Britain’s businesses  (Evening Standard)
Staff hiring has now become a major issue for Britain’s businesses (Evening Standard)

UK businesses are being slammed by staff shortages with more than three quarters (79%) experiencing reduced output, profitability or growth.

According to the Open University’s Business Barometer 2022 report, published in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) that surveys 1,300 key employers across the UK, this statistic has crept up dramatically year on year, when just over half (56%) of respondents from 2021’s report claimed their staff were experiencing additional pressure.

To address the problem, more than half (52%) of large organisations said they would increase investment in staff training over the next year, compared to 47% of SMEs.

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC, said: “Skills shortages are worsening, and the country can ill afford this drag on the economy as we recover from the pandemic and grapple with the impact of geo-political events.

“We need an agile skills system that can respond quickly to the evolving needs of businesses, supporting the transition to a more digital, automated, and net zero workplace and giving firms the confidence to boost investment in training and development.”

The knock-on effect of these shortages is also impacting company growth as 28% of businesses say they have actually had to turn down work or are not able to bid for work due to staff shortages.

Businesses reported they were feeling the full impact of complex socio-economic issues such as Covid-19, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and rising business costs.

Viren Patel, director of the business development unit at The Open University added: “Critically, staff seem to be under more pressure than ever, looking at last year’s report, an increased amount of employers admit that the skills shortage is increasing their teams’ workload and wellbeing.

“Education is a huge enabler and has a vital role to easing and solving the skills shortage. If we can harness the ambitions of our people who deliver products and services, then it’s a win-win for all.”