Access to talent and skills is a growing problem

18th Annual Global CEO Survey

Increased headcount, reduced workforce. Is this the agenda for UK CEO’s?

97%of UK CEOs believe that the main benefit of having a diversity strategy is attracting talent

What's on the agenda for UK CEOs in 2015?

UK business leaders across industries identify a clear challenge in the lack of access to the right talent and skills. UK CEOs are the most concerned compared with their global counterparts about the impact on growth of a scarcity of the right skills and the lack of access to talent which, at 84%, registers at 20 percentage points higher than the results last year.

Compared with many of their European counterparts, CEOs in the UK are very obviously concerned about the negative impact that the skills shortage may have, with 84% citing it as a key business threat. But in Germany, for example, only just over half (54%) of CEOs are concerned, and in France levels of anxiety about this issue are even lower, with only 37% expressing concern about the availability of the key skills they need.

Addressing the skills gap

UK CEOs recognise that they cannot bridge the talent gap alone. Two thirds (67%) believe that a priority of government should be to create a skilled and adaptable workforce, up from 60% last year. Our survey highlights the need for the government, business and education sectors to work together to enable the UK to prosper in the long-term.

Revisiting the talent pool?

In the absence of more rapid progress through education and training (necessarily a development that can only take place over the relatively long term) UK CEOs will need to explore other sources and strategies to secure the talent they need. However, taking concrete steps to identify and cultivate potentially new, more diverse sources appears to be a slightly lower priority for UK CEOs than for many of their global peers. Fewer in the UK (57% UK against 64% globally) said they have a strategy to promote talent, diversity and inclusiveness than their global peers, and a higher proportion (26%) than recorded in the global results (17%) said they have no plans to introduce such a strategy.

However, UK CEOs that have embraced talent, diversity and inclusiveness strategies are reporting clear business benefits from doing so. Nearly all of them, 97%, say that it has helped them to attract talent, 77% that it has enhanced business performance and the same proportion that it has strengthened their businesses’ brand and reputation.

View UK findings in full