Skills gap in London

Despite the rising population, many employers are facing skills gaps. 28,300 London employers report that not all their employees have the right skills for the job. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of all vacancies in London are due to a lack of applicants with the right skills, while almost half of firms (42 per cent) are not confident they will be able to recruit people with the higher-level skills their organisation needs over the next five years.

The number of cases where employers have been unable to fill a vacancy due to skills shortages in the capital has also more than doubled since 2011 – rising from 14,000 to 37,000.

More widely across the UK, skills gaps are felt more acutely in a number of key sectors. In the NHS, 10 per cent of vacancies go unfilled. In the construction industry, more than 80 per cent of employers report skills shortages as a chronic problem and 59 per cent of construction firms believe that the sector’s workforce will not have the required skills to cater for the industry’s future needs and developments.

This is partly due to skills deficits, with Londoners losing out to more skilled workers from the rest of the UK or abroad. Employers have reported rising skills shortage vacancies in London and skills gaps in their workforce. This is reflected in a mismatch of skills provision, with too many Londoners acquiring skills that are not in demand locally alongside insufficient provision of skills that are in demand by employers. There is a more complex picture within each category, with oversupply of learners studying electrical installation in the construction and planning category, for example, despite a significant undersupply in other areas of construction, such as bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, and plastering.

Improving skills provision in London is therefore critical to increasing employment rates for Londoners, boosting productivity and economic growth. 

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