There’s a strong case for why employers should step up investment in skills. Investing in training and skills ensures the business retains and has a pipeline for the right skills, reducing the need to recruit those skills – often at higher cost – elsewhere to fill vacancies. There are wider benefits for firms too: investing in the skills of existing employees avoids the need to recruit and onboard new hires. This helps organisations work more effectively, as on average, new hires perform at a lower level for their first two years on the job. This feeds through to a firms’ bottom line, with an estimated 80% of required upskilling investments generating returns for the business.
Three areas your business should prioritise
1 - Map out your organisation’s skills gaps
Start with the basics by mapping your organisations’ skills gaps. Identify the current skills gaps that you’re struggling to recruit for, and how you think these may change in five years’ time. This will help your organisation identify where skills investment is most needed to avoid relying on recruiting these skills externally in the future.
For example, when evaluating long-term skills needs, Zurich found that 270 jobs could go unfilled in the next five years if the team were not reskilled for the future. Identifying these skills gaps helped them understand where to target investment in training over the next few years to help ensure the skills gap is closed.
2 - Build a culture of lifelong learning to encourage training at every level
Creating a culture of learning from top-to-bottom helps give employees the confidence to train and learn new skills, while helping the business fill skills gap in the long run. Organisations should consider publicising stories of employees who are learning new skills at all levels to encourage other employees to seek out new opportunities where skills gaps are emerging.
For example, Nissan launched a first of its kind battery plant in the UK, requiring specific manufacturing skills that were sparse across the UK. Nissan offered opportunities for upskilling and retraining to all employees, regardless of age or experience – which meant that those retraining had an average age of 35.
Read more about this example and others in our Employers and Lifelong Learning report.
3 - Consider working with training providers to help deliver flexible courses
Firms should consider how working with training providers could help deliver effective training to fill skills gaps. This could be by helping companies design modular and shorter courses for individuals to learn flexibly on the job.
For example, in partnership with QinetiQ, Talent Solutions designed and delivered three programmes for combat systems engineers and architects. The programmes combined classroom training with on-the-job mentoring and hands-on experience to provide candidates with a blended learning approach, helping them gain experience and develop new skills.
Member Case Studies
Learn how IBM invested in apprentices to help close the digital skills gap
IBM is a leading cloud platform and cognitive solutions company, serving clients in more than 170 countries. Struggling to recruit enough people with the right skills, IBM took matters into their own hands. Instead of relying on finding candidates in the market, IBM decided to align their recruitment and learning and development strategies to overcome the gap in the market by investing in skills from the bottom up.
For more information please read the full case study.
Discover how ScottishPower have used the apprenticeship levy to attract new talent
ScottishPower identified a need to increase the levels and range of apprenticeships to provide a steady pipeline of talent.
For more information please read the full case study
Want to get started? Read our resources:
- Check out the latest labour market analysis from CBI Economics commissioned by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation
- Read Learning for Life to understand more about how investing in skills can benefit your business
- Take a look at the case studies in Employers and Lifelong Learning to understand how real businesses are prioritising investing in skills in practice.