Two fifths of West Midlands firms struggling to recruit skilled staff

Forty three per cent of West Midlands firms are reporting difficulty recruiting skilled staff, a new study has found.

More than a third have seen increased staff turnover since June 2016, according to the employment and skills research from Lloyds Banking Group and London business membership organisation, London First.

The study sought to analyse the impact of Brexit on business recruitment and access to skills across the UK.

The skills shortage is proving to be an issue for businesses in the region, with 44 per cent saying it had impacted their activity.

Also 33 per cent said it had affected their revenue growth and business expansion and 57 per cent that it had made it harder to respond to customer needs.

The West Midlands region has the fourth highest percentage of firms experiencing recruitment challenges in the UK at 63 per cent, behind London with 76 per cent, Northern Ireland 69 per cent and the South East 63 per cent.

Shortages

The biggest skills gap reported in the region was for technical and job-specific skills (40 per cent), reflective of the largest portion of respondents being in the manufacturing sector.

Many thought these gaps would persist over the next 18 months, reflecting the UK’s long-term challenge in tackling its skills shortages.

To help generate a pipeline of future talent, 44 per cent of West Midlands firms said they would be focusing on improving skill sets in the next 18 months as part of their recruitment efforts.

More than two thirds are already engaged with local schools, colleges and universities and the majority of firms surveyed want to work with more education providers. Despite this, almost two fifths said that they don’t have enough time or staff resource to engage with more schools.

Apprenticeships are proving to be a popular solution to the skills shortage, with more than half of West Midlands companies surveyed employing apprentices.

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