Skills Gap: Are There Increased Opportunities for Better Jobs?

Written by Steven Marwick
Author

The skills gap that is present in the UK at the moment is causing many problems for businesses and consumers alike, as many companies do not always have enough trained staff to keep their stores open for the advertised opening hours. This seems to be true across the board whether the business is a large chain or a small independent. 

The skills gap is very real, and it is forcing many employers to concentrate a lot more closely on the offerings they are making to potential new staff. It is also forcing them to focus on retaining existing staff in a way that they have never really had to do in previous years and learn what it takes to have happy staff working for them. 

What are the Causes of the Skills Gap?

The skills gap in the UK seems to have been caused by two distinct factors that have really hit home over the past couple of years. The first is the impact of Brexit and the second is the “Great Resignation” of 2020/21. We look at each in a little more detail below:

Brexit and the Increased Skills Gap

The decision to remove the UK from the European Union caused a lot of upheaval and difficulty for businesses, and one of the most significant problems that have resulted has been an increase in the number of job roles there are no qualified staff to fill. 

European Union citizens left the UK in some numbers in the wake of Brexit and took their skills with them. Now many jobs cannot find people who are able to take on the jobs, and there are a lot of job vacancies being advertised in all kinds of areas.

The hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard, with many restaurants, bars and cafés being forced to close early some days due to staff shortages. This doesn’t only apply to small family firms but also to many of the more prominent brands and franchises as well. 

The Effects of the “Great Resignation” 

The Great Resignation was a significant event that happened at the tail end of the Covid-19 pandemic when employees left their current jobs at a rate that had never before been seen. Most of these people ended up in another job, but the skills gaps that were exposed by this mass move are still causing companies to scramble. 

The reasons are thought to be tied in with the pandemic triggering thoughts about what people wanted from life, with many concluding that their current job just wasn’t cutting it. The pandemic also gave many people a chance to work from home for the first time, and when companies wanted people to return to the office, many employees simply didn’t want to. They had tasted a life that didn’t involve a long and tiring commute and would instead find another job that allows them to work either hybrid or remotely rather than go back to the office.

Human Resources professionals will often cite the idea that work culture typically binds people to their job. The prospect of meeting their work friends every day, being able to support each other and helping each other to upskill is often enough to outweigh the negative aspects of a job but with furlough and working from home during the pandemic, this was eroded. 

How to Turn the Skills Gap to Your Advantage

Employers are currently crying out for people who can do the work tasks that they require. If you are young and keen, and a quick learner, you may be able to identify opportunities for career advancement at an earlier stage than may otherwise have been possible. 

Apply for an Apprenticeship

Many companies are seeking to address the skills gaps they have in their organisations by offering apprenticeships to fill particular job roles. Apprentices have an essential role to play in filling the UK skills gap and helping employers to find the skills that they need for the vacancies that they have. 

Our sister website Employing an Apprentice, has a dedicated apprenticeship jobs board that can help you to find the correct apprenticeship standard that will allow you to advance in your chosen career. The website is a valuable resource for all of those who are looking at potentially doing an apprenticeship, and there is useful information on all aspects of the application process, as well as reasons why apprenticeships can be a good fit for you.

Design Your Perfect Career

There has never been a better time to reflect upon what you want to do with your career. Work is such a large part of life that it is essential to do something that you enjoy, if you are able to. For many people, this is what the Great Resignation has been all about, redesigning their lives to more closely match their wishes. 

There are many more remote working opportunities than there have ever been in the past, and there are also more ways of flexible working that are being considered by employers who are keen to recruit staff to work for them. There has never been a better time to be looking for a fully remote job or one with additional degrees of flexibility built in. Some employers will even offer paid workations as part of your package with them.

For some people, this additional flexibility can be the configuration of the hours that are worked to fit around their family commitments, or maybe they start work slightly later and end slightly later as they are not morning people. If there is something that you feel would make you happier when working, there has never been a better time to raise it with an employer. 

It is a worker’s market at the moment, and employers are often offering more money for the same job role since the pandemic. This is both to offset the rise in the cost of living for employees and to aid in employee retention in a time where competition for committed employees has never been so high. You can definitely use this to your advantage to find a job that suits you and pays relatively well.

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