More than two-thirds of Scottish businesses are struggling to recruit workers due to skills shortages

More than two-thirds of Scottish businesses are struggling to recruit workers with the right skills amid a national shortage, according to a new report.

A study by the Open University found that 70% of respondents said their organizations are currently facing skills shortages, with 77% seeing reduced production, profitability or growth in result.

The study highlights the impact of skills shortages on morale and well-being, with 72% noting that workload has increased for other staff.

The Business Barometer report found that more than 60% of organizations surveyed have recruitment and training plans in place in an effort to address skills shortages.

The annual report is a ‘temperature check’ on the skills landscape in Scotland. The percentage of organizations facing recruitment challenges due to skills shortages has increased by 8% this year to 70%.

Covid-19, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and rising business costs have all contributed to the skills shortage, organizations say.

The report, commissioned in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce, surveyed 1,300 employers across the country.

David Allen, from the Open University in Scotland, said the need to close the skills gap is greater than ever.

He said, “These recruiting challenges focus on growing talent within the organization as well as attracting new employees.

“Critically, staff in Scotland appear to be under more pressure than staff elsewhere in the UK. More employers are reporting this year that skills shortages are increasing the workload and well-being of their teams.

“Through the Open University’s work with employees and organizations across Scotland, we see how targeted training can make a huge difference in providing new opportunities for individuals and supporting business growth.”

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, added: “By 2030, a fifth of Scotland’s population will be of retirement age and by 2050 it will be a quarter.

“Our country’s overall population growth since 1970 is only 5%, far behind peer countries. As we attempt to recover from the pandemic and combat the impact of geopolitical events, these disturbing statistics, along with the results of this survey, confirm that labor and skills shortages are getting worse, acting as a dangerous brake on economic recovery and growth. .

“Workforce and skills planning has never been more important and it is essential that policymakers, employers, our education system and training providers work together in a meaningful way to ensure that our businesses have access to the people and skills needed to realize our economic potential.