UK focus-key findings

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Key findings

CEOs have stated that talent was an area of concern for some time but now they're looking at taking a different approach to tackling the issue. They are now looking at how they can raise the skill level of the entire workforce to build bigger talent pools for the future. This will be a big shift for the HR function who will need to take a broader view of skills development - and not just think within their own organisation.

Theoretically, finding good candidates should be a near-frictionless exercise today. There have never been as many educated people in the world, nor has it ever been as easy for employers to tap this vast pool online. Highly-skilled talent is also highly mobile but just in case, networking advances mean many more tasks can be handled remotely or outsourced.

The reality is far different. Shortages are evident everywhere. More CEOs are changing talent management strategies than are adjusting approaches to risk: 23% expect ‘major change’ to the way they manage their talent. Skills shortages are seen as a top threat to growth. And talent shortages are impacting profitability now. One in four CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent. One in three is concerned that skills shortages will constrain their company’s innovation.

Globally, leading companies take the long view and are partnering with their governments to invest in workforce development. Most CEOs believe business has a role upgrading skills outside of their own companies and 78% say they are making direct investments in workforce development. This is part of a wider trend of businesses reaching back further into the talent pool and seeking to ‘grow their own’ with employer-led universities.

In the UK, there is a greater focus on specific groups that are in high demand and short supply. Talented middle managers are the focus for UK CEOs in the short term as they try to ensure their organisation has a solid foundation for the future. But, as UK CEOs refocus on growth strategies in the longer term, the skills shortages in emerging markets will be an area they need to address.