The coronavirus pandemic has sped up structural changes already underway in the economy and placed an even greater imperative on reskilling. Making a return this year, the CBI’s annual education and skills survey provides an insight into business intentions for education and skills at this critical time for the economy.
The survey, conducted in April 2021 with a total of 252 respondents, is being published against a backdrop of many companies struggling to fill vacancies, as the economy reopens rapidly from the pandemic. More encouragingly, employers plan on increasing investment in training over the next 12 months compared with pre-COVID levels.
There is also growing confidence that their skills needs can be met over the next three to five years, but much more will be needed to deliver on this confidence at the pace and scale needed. The Skills & Post-16 Education Bill is an opportunity to deliver on the confidence of most firms that they can meet their long-term skills needs.
Key findings from this year’s report:
- 41% of employers plan on increasing investment in training over the next 12 months compared with pre-COVID-19 levels
- Companies expect to have greater need for people with skills at entry level (balance of +31%), intermediate level (+38%) and higher level (+39%) over the next three to five years
- In April 2021, before shortages began to bite, nearly four in five survey respondents were confident in their ability to meet entry level skill needs over the next three to five years through recruitment or training, but around one in five were not
- Employers most expect the need for other workplace skills unattached to qualifications – such as communication and teamwork – to increase (+41%) in the next three to five years. But compared with other skills, respondents are the least confident about meeting these skills needs (+34%)
- Developing workforce industry-specific technical knowledge (60%), leadership & management (58%) and advanced digital skills (44%) are top priorities for firms
- 81% of employers are confident they will be able to support young people over the next year, for example, through training and engagement with education.
CBI/Birkbeck Education and Skills Survey 2021
This year’s report, in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London, also covers:
- Businesses’ views on the effectiveness of online learning for delivering training
- Firms’ views on adult education and lifelong learning
- How businesses are engaging in the education system
- Employer insight into the Kickstart Scheme and T-level placements
- Firms’ approaches to apprenticeship delivery and the impact of the Levy.
Please contact Ed Richardson for more information.