Talent Shortage Survey 2024

UK businesses face talent crunch as skills gap widens

ManpowerGroup’s latest Talent Shortage survey report for 2024 reveals a widening skills gap in the UK, with cross-sector shortfalls reaching an 18-year high of 80%. While hiring plans for Q1 2024 remain cautious, experts warn that businesses must evolve their practices to stay competitive.

The skills mismatch between employers’ needs and candidates’ abilities is particularly acute for specialist positions. This has created a paradox: despite a loosening of hiring demand, job vacancy volumes remain stubbornly high.

“An inhibiting paradox has long afflicted the UK job market,” observes Michael Stull, Director at ManpowerGroup UK. “On the one hand, we see a softening of hiring demand. On the other, we have record-high job vacancy numbers.”

Stull believes that the traditional approach to recruitment is no longer sustainable. “Employers have a stark choice,” he says. “They can either continue fishing in the same pond for scarce skills, or they can adopt a new approach by focusing on skills-based hiring.”

Skills-based hiring prioritises a candidate’s abilities and experience over traditional factors like education or background. This approach has the potential to alleviate talent shortages, drive innovation and create more diverse workforces.

“In the face of stiffening economic headwinds,” Stull concludes, “skills-based hiring is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity for UK businesses to thrive in 2024 and beyond.”

Find out more in the Talent Shortage report including:

  • Talent shortages by company size and industry
  • How employers are tackling talent scarcity
  • Top five hard and soft skills employers report the most difficulty finding.

Download the full report and infographic below: