Labour and Skills Shortages Biggest Challenge

The findings of the British Chambers of Commerce quarterly economic survey, the UK’s largest and most authoritative private-sector business survey, indicates that skills shortages are reaching critical levels.

Of the service sector firms hiring, the percentage of firms reporting recruitment difficulties rose to 71 per cent, the highest since records began. In manufacturing, the percentage of recruiting firms reporting greater difficulties is at its highest since Q4 2016.

Commenting on the results John Bridge OBE DL, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “While there are many business bright spots throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the evidence from our survey in the county shows that growth and confidence remain subdued overall as we enter a new year.

“Labour and skills shortages are set to be the biggest potential drag anchor on business in 2018, since ultimately it is people that make businesses work. Business itself must do more – by training and investing wherever possible in people – but government must also give firms the confidence to put their livelihoods on the line and go for growth.

“This must be the year employers’ act rather than just complain on skills, and the year government delivers clarity, leadership and investment in people and most essentially infrastructure. Kick-starting growth, and boosting wages and prosperity for all, depends on this.”