Skills gap is hindering growth for businesses – PwC report

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Business leaders are calling for government to prioritise initiatives that help foster a skilled workforce, as more than half of CEOs around the world (58%) say a lack of key skills is hampering their growth prospects.

A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOs reveals that business leaders see the availability of key skills as the second biggest threat to their business growth, just after the increasing tax burden (63%). CEOs in Africa (82%), the Middle East (69%) and Asia-Pacific (64%) are the most concerned about the lack of key skills.

The research shows businesses are looking to government to help them plug this skills gap. More than half of CEOs (57%) said that creating and encouraging a skilled workforce should be the government’s highest priority for business for the year ahead.

This is an area where government could do much better, according to the CEOs surveyed. Only 15% believe their government has been effective in creating a skilled workforce up to now.

Tackling the talent challenge is also an area on which CEOs plan to focus, with 61% planning to increase investment in their workforce over the next three years.

The research reveals that mining, energy, and engineering and construction companies report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.

The research reveals businesses are planning to hire this year, with more businesses planning to increase their headcount (45%) than make cuts (23%). 28% of CEOs expect their headcount to remain relatively static.

Among the other findings of the research:

77% of CEOs plan to make changes to their strategies for managing talent in the next 12 months, with CEOs in Brazil (93%), Korea (90%) and South Africa (89%) leading the way, versus CEOs in Central and East Europe (59%)

61% of CEOs worldwide are looking to global mobility to help develop their leadership pipeline, with more CEOs in Western Europe (67%) seeing this as an effective way to develop their future leaders than CEOs in North America (54%).

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