Is there a Skills Gap and Shortage in 2022?
With Covid-19 and the pandemic happening, it slowed down a lot of sectors, making a lot of them come to a stop. As such, the sectors that saw this the most were construction, electricity, hospitality and health and social care. Practical sectors were hit the hardest. As the job market was changing so was the skills gap. In doing so, the skills needed started to lack in some sectors. The economy at the moment isn’t helping the shortage either. Many skills that are needed aren’t being funded enough.
Technological advancements are rapidly changing our working lives and there is a need for the current and future workforce to adapt digitally and improve upon their digital skills. So we’re going to take you through what the skills gap is. As well as the shortage and some things you can do.
In short, the skills gap refers to the difference between the skills needed to complete a specific job and the skills available. As an individual, the skills gap means that people don’t have the right skills for the jobs available. Some figures show that in the UK around 40% of workers don’t have the right qualification for their job. This means that people are either underqualified or overqualified.
It is estimated that nearly 20% of the workforce will be under-skilled by 2030. In spite of this, finding an appropriate job in your area is becoming increasingly difficult.
A skills shortage, however, refers to there being a shortage in skills within a particular sector’s workforce. We’ve seen shortages in HGV Drivers and Construction workers. A skills shortage means the younger workforce isn’t going into vocational skills. There is more of a push for them to go to university instead of taking up a trade. Meaning those sectors are finding it hard to fill positions within the workforce.
Why do they exist?
There are a few reasons why the skills gap and skills shortage is happening. There are also more specific reasons why sectors are lacking but these depend on the industry. Sometimes it’s as simple as an ageing workforce. Take construction, for example, they have an ageing workforce, who are going into retirement and not being able to give their skills and knowledge to the younger workforce, meaning it’s harder to find construction workers.
Not only an ageing workforce, but technology can be a factor in why the shortage exists. With the rise of technology and new ones such as Artificial Intelligence, as well as machine learning and automation. This means the world of work is changing. There is a possibility that some jobs can become all machine learning. There needs to be a way to balance the new technologies with the workforce or integrate them both together.
Another way the problem is emerging is within education. The UK education is high, however, we are seeing gaps in areas such as maths, English and IT. Further learning doesn’t seem to be promoted much either. Within the education system, there has been a push for leavers to go to university as it will land them better jobs. Vocational/practical skills have declined as no one is being pushed into trades. We are failing here since trade skills are in high demand, so they are receiving higher wages. So there needs to be more of a push for learners to go into practical skills.
There is also a suggestion that training is also an issue. As in previous generations, employers would hire graduates or untrained workers and train them for the job. However, with how the economy is now, there is a need for instant results, as a lot of companies are seeking candidates who are job-ready. As a result, experience is valued over potential, and this is reflected in job requirements.
Additionally, fewer people are taking on apprenticeships. This could be because the funding for them has fallen and needs to reform. There may also be a lack of awareness of their benefits and how to gain entry into their desired field. There needs to be a shift in how people think about apprenticeships also.
Where are the gaps?
So where are the gaps? We’ve talked about it a lot, but if you don’t know where the gaps are then how can we change this? Here are some of the sectors that are being hit the most and the hardest in 2022.
- Nurses/ health care professionals
- Programmers and software developers
- Cyber security
- IT Support technicians
- Trades e.g. construction, plumbing, gas
- HGV Drivers
- Maintenance technicians
- Website designers.
There are a lot of reasons why there are gaps in these industries. From not enough Government funding to ageing workforces. There is a high demand for people to go into these industries. The trades industry in particular is really struggling because not enough people are taking the place of those going into retirement.
What can you do?
Becoming an Assessor is one way you can help the skills shortage. As these are NVQ qualifications, you can assess learners in your subject area. For example, if you’re a construction worker, you can become an assessor. It works for all industries! You can teach the next generation of the workforce the skills and knowledge they need. It also comes with a nice pay increase, as you can earn more when you’re an assessor. You can also highlight apprenticeships and show how useful they are!
However, there needs to be a wider reform. As we’ve mentioned the Government and education system are pushing for university, but that’s not always the case. It’s not right for everyone. There needs to be other options available and pushed to people. So they don’t feel like they have to go to University and it’s their only option.
If you want to do something for yourself becoming an assessor is great! Or if you want to start small, then completing CPD courses is something that will really benefit you. There are many ways you can upskill and retrain in your area. It may seem daunting to you but upskilling and retraining is really important to keep up to date and add to your skill set. It takes time and effort and you have to decide whether you’re on the right career path.
Personal things you can do
When talking about the skills shortage it can seem a little overwhelming, but there are plenty of positives to take away. Being able to assess and identify the areas of weakness is a great thing because we can then work towards closing the gap. It also means that you can focus on building skills and lifelong learning to benefit your career. Here are two things you can do to help breach the gap.
Complete a skills assessment
The first thing you can do is complete a self-assessment. You have to work out what your personal strengths and weaknesses are and how they will impact your career. A good place to start is to compare your current skills to any ones you see in job listings or any desired skills. Then you can see if there are any gaps in your knowledge and skills which would make you a better practitioner.
Address the shortage
Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are is extremely helpful as you can start to take steps to address them. This could be undertaking training through your employer or completing some on your own. You can also complete the assessor course, which is the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Occupational Achievement or CAVA for short.