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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Tackling the UK skills shortage

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The UK has been facing a skills shortage, particularly in knowledge-intensive sectors, for years. But now – with Brexit, the long-lasting impacts of the pandemic, and a cost-of-living crisis – it’s more universal and it’s affecting more businesses than ever before.

Rachel Roberts

HCR Law has an ongoing mission to help UK employers on this new frontier. Rachel Roberts who is a Partner specialising in employment issues, shares her views on the steps businesses can take to tackle the skills shortage.

  • Limitations on free movement across the EU reducing the number of potential candidates overall
  • Historic government focus on academic learning resulting in fewer appropriately skilled workers coming through to replace retiring staff in vocational roles
  • Different expectations within the workforce associated with benefits, home working and work-life balance, resulting in increased competition to retain employees.

Rachel proposes three routes to tackle your skills shortage:

  1. Create a truly competitive employment proposition. Becoming an employer of choice isn’t an overnight job. It starts by curating a culture that encourages people to stay with you, which is the best social proof you have. But it also means having the right leadership style, and employee engagement initiatives which make you desirable to potential candidates and current employees.
  2. Upskill your existing workforce. When you’re suffering from skills shortages, ignoring training is often a false economy. It is regularly easier, and cheaper, to train existing staff – even in knowledge intensive sectors.
  3. Look further afield. Many of our clients are seeking our advice on hiring internationally, and for assistance with sponsor licence applications. Whilst Brexit may have exacerbated the issue, it has also levelled the playing field for other markets and made hiring from countries outside the EU more realistic. There are various options available to assist with the recruitment of non-UK nationals, which we can help you with.
Download our digital toolkits for more insight and practical steps

We can support you with every aspect of your skills shortage – from redefining your workplace culture to securing sponsor licences. Get in touch today.

HCR Legal LLP is authorised and regulated by the SRA


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