Small businesses face skills gaps

Small businesses are experiencing skills shortages in both their workforce and their recruitment processes, causing concerns for future productivity.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) surveyed 1,203 small business owners and found that 46% lack a fully proficient workforce.

Additionally, almost a third (30%) of business owners who have recruited in the last 12 months reported facing skills shortages.

When asked which skills they considered important to their future growth, businesses were most concerned with the following:

  • technical (50%)
  • communication (38%)
  • self-management (32%).

The report also focused on the part that digitisation plays in a changing workforce, revealing that 26% of small business owners are not confident in their basic digital skills.

A similar figure (25%) did not consider digital skills to be important to their business growth.

As outlined in the government’s Industrial Strategy white paper, a new national training scheme will aim to address these concerns with adult skills, including digital.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the FSB, said:

“We know that embracing digital technology can help businesses in every sector to be more productive.

“Firms risk being left behind unless they have the skills to take advantage of technology to remain competitive and responsive to their customers.”

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