Current Demand for Skills
The measures used to assess current reported skills
deficiencies are skill-shortage vacancies (SSVs) and skill gaps. SSVs
are vacancies that are hard to fill for skills-related reasons, such
as a lack of relevant experience or lack of qualifications held by the
available pool of labour. Skill gaps are reports of a lack of proficiency
in existing employees.
The sections that follow draw on a South West analysis of the National
Employer Skills Survey 2005 (NESS 2005). All references to the NESS 2005,
therefore apply to the South West. Research from the recent NESS 2005
report, commissioned by SLIM, indicates that the numbers of recruitment
difficulties and skill gaps have reduced significantly between 2003 and
2005, bringing skills supply and demand more closely into balance. The
number of SSVs in the region is very low in relation to the number of
jobs and the outstanding skills issue is now more clearly than ever that
of shortages of practical skills in technical, craft and operative/driver
Key features of the current vacancy and recruitment
difficulty situation in the South West are:
- A considerably lower overall rate of SSVs (17.7% of all vacancies) than the English average (24.9% of all vacancies). This disparity may suggest that employers in the South West have a below-average skill requirement. The South West has a slightly higher proportion of jobs in the retail and catering sectors, where low-skill jobs are concentrated, than does England as a whole, and this may account for the disparity.
- A polarisation of recruitment difficulty, such that sectors with large numbers of intermediate- or low-skilled staff on low rates of pay (retail, hospitality, and care) have higher levels of recruitment difficulty, but low or average rates of skill shortage; and a concentration, as a proportion of employment and vacancies, of skill shortage amongst technical, craft and operative/driver staff in production industries, manufacturing and transport.
- A tendency for recruitment difficulty and skill shortage to be a feature of small establishments.
- Although the proportion of employers supplying training has increased a little, it seems likely that the scale of change is such that it is economic and demographic factors which are the principal causes of reduced recruitment problems and consequent skill gaps.
- Since 2003, where reductions in SSVs have occurred, these have predominantly been for skill shortages associated with lower skilled jobs. Skill shortages concerned with manual jobs (at semi-skilled and skilled level) and with higher level jobs have not reduced in number.
4.2.1 Skills Shortages
4.2.2 Skill Gaps
4.2.3 Generic employability skills
4.2.4 Skills for Life