Em­ploy­ers ‘fail­ing to make the most of work­ers’ skills’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Tim Wal­lace

BRI­TONS have a high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and make for skilled young work­ers, but their abil­i­ties are too of­ten put to poor use by em­ploy­ers, the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum has warned.

The UK has tapped around 71pc of its avail­able tal­ent, the an­a­lysts estimate, putting the coun­try 23rd out of the 130 coun­tries mea­sured.

But that means there is plenty more room to make the most of the skills and hu­man re­sources avail­able.

For in­stance, the UK has the eighth high­est share of skilled work­ers in the world and ranks 10th for know-how, which looks at the use of spe­cialised skills in the work­place. Bri­tain also ranks 17th for pre­par­ing work­ers for the fu­ture and 11th in terms of a di­verse grad­u­ate skills base.

But the coun­try fails to use these skills fully – the UK ranks 51st in terms of mak­ing a re­turn on the in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion, as too many peo­ple of work­ing age ei­ther do not work at all or are in jobs for which they are overqual­i­fied.

This is also a global prob­lem and the WEF wants govern­ments and em­ploy­ers to do more to fully utilise skills, and to train work­ers bet­ter for the avail­able jobs. Em­ploy­ers across the world also have un­rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions, the WEF has warned, be­cause they look for “ready-made tal­ent” in­stead of train­ing work­ers to suit their jobs.

“While younger peo­ple are con­sis­tently bet­ter off than older gen­er­a­tions when it comes to the ini­tial in­vest­ment in their ed­u­ca­tion, their skills are not al­ways de­ployed ef­fec­tively and too many em­ploy­ers con­tinue to look for ready-made tal­ent,” the econ­o­mists said, ar­gu­ing that coun­tries world­wide need to fo­cus on life-long learn­ing.

“The prob­lem of un­der-de­ploy­ment of skills among the young also af­fects those com­ing to­wards the end of their work­ing life. Mean­while, few among those cur­rently in em­ploy­ment – across all age groups – are gain­ing ac­cess to higher-skilled work and op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­hance know-how.”

A sur­vey from the Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce in­di­cated that some com­pa­nies are re­spond­ing by train­ing more work­ers. Its an­nual study found 48pc of UK firms faced skills or labour short­ages in the past 12 months. Of those, 31pc spent more on train­ing.

‘Skills are not al­ways de­ployed ef­fec­tively and too many em­ploy­ers look for ready-made tal­ent’

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