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South West skills shortages highlighted by the region’s businesses

By October 25, 2019January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates



A recent survey of regional businesses, undertaken by South West recruitment specialists King Recruit, uncovers concerns about future skills shortages and the dissolution of current workplace roles.


Intrigued by the changing demands of our new digital age, Specialist Recruitment and Search Agency King Recruit decided to conduct a survey with South West clients to find out if they are prepared for this so called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution.’


Helen Plumridge, Managing Director of King Recruit, comments:


We are increasingly reminded by the media and industry experts that rapid advances in technology mean that some workplace skills are likely to become obsolete in the future whereas technical skills, like programming and app development, or soft skills, such as creative thinking, will be more sought after.


“Keen to find out what our clients think, we asked them to complete a short survey and share their ideas and opinions with us.”

The Future of Talent Today survey gathered data from South West clients across a range of business sectors including: Consumer Services & Products, Digital and Tech, Education, Energy, Engineering, Financial Services, Media, Marketing & Advertising and Small-Scale Manufacturing.

The key findings are as follows:

  • 68% of businesses reported skills shortages among their workforce (26% reported a skills shortage in managers and team Leaders. 42% reported a skills shortage in non- managerial specialists digital analysts, engineers, marketing, supply chain, etc.)
  • 58% said their workforce is not currently equipped with sufficient technical and/or digital skills
  • Communication was identified as the top soft skills for the future, with 58% ranking it in their top 3, closely followed by leadership (37%) and personal productivity (32%).
  • Businesses noted that an increase in technology could lead to more technically skilled roles emerging such as developers and programmers
  • The main roles, identified as being at risk in the future, are support and admin roles which respondents saw as roles which can easily be replaced by technology/ automation
  • Only 32% of businesses surveyed have a plan in place to incorporate rapidly emerging technical and digital skills

Survey participant Martin Rothwell, Managing Director of World First Travel Insurance commented:


“Undeniably there will be less customer facing staff as businesses adopt new and emerging technologies to drive more customers towards self-service, online chatbots and virtual assistant technology which is already being adopted by some of the leading international brands.”

However, the future it is not just about technical skills, research by ManpowerGroup predicts that, by 2030, demand for human skills – social and emotional soft skills – will grow across all industries by 26% in the U.S and by 22% in Europe. Further data reveals that 65% of the jobs that our children will do in the future don’t exist today.


This is referenced in the survey, with business leaders identifying communication as the top soft skill for the future.


King Recruit Managing Director, Helen King said: “The results from the Future Talent Today survey provide a fascinating insight into the skills required in the workplace now and for the future. It is shocking to see that nearly 70% of businesses report that they have skill shortages in vital areas of the business and 58% say that their employees are ill equipped for the workplace of the future.”


“As a leading specialist recruitment and search agency, with a 98% fill rate on exclusive assignments, we recommend upskilling your employees, so that they can identify how technology can be used to deliver better value and service to your customers. We also encourage businesses to consider looking further afield, outside of the immediate talent pool, for the specific set of skills they require.


“Thinking about how your business will change in the next 5 or 10 years, taking an innovative approach, and investing in the development of roles and the appointment of future talent will undoubtedly help to narrow the gap between today’s and tomorrow’s workplace.”


To find out more about King Recruit and future proofing your recruitment strategy contact King Recruit on: 01392 790725 or email: [email protected]