Skills Gap Analysis - UK Commission for Employment and Skills

5
2. The Issue
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics the knowledge and skills of workers in the
UK were worth an estimated £17.12 trillion in 2010 (ONS, 2011). However, some organisations
experience significant skills gaps that are defined as an instance in which an individual lacks a skill in
a particular area, preventing them from performing their job effectively (UKCES, 2012
a
).
Skills gaps are self-defined by employers when they perceive that an employee lacks certain skills
preventing them from being fully proficient in their job role – for example, the main cause of skills
gaps cited by employers within the Asset Skills footprint is employees that are new to their job roles
have only partially completed their training and are therefore lacking technical, practical or job
specific skills required to perform their role to a high standard (UKCES, 2012
a
).
Skills gaps can occur at an individual, departmental or organisational level at any time because staff
lack critical skills (required to complete a task successfully), or non-critical skills (skills that are not
essential but would enable a task to be completed more quickly or efficiently) (QFinance, 2009) due
to changes in the working environment – for example, as a result of new practices, policies or
equipment.
These skills gaps can have significant implications for companies as they will be unable to reach their
potential productivity and profitability. For example, if employees have skills gaps in areas of verbal
or written communication they could struggle to follow simple instructions and make mistakes when
manufacturing products or providing services. Additionally, individuals with poor literacy or language
skills may not understand health and safety procedure resulting in accidents. This could result in
higher costs for customers as production will be relatively slow or missed opportunities to release
new products/services as the employers will not be confident that their workforce could meet the
conditions of a new contract. Furthermore, skills gaps in areas of customer service could potentially
result in a failure to meet customer demands, an increased number of complaints and the loss of
customers to competitors.
There are also implications on an individual level. For example, if an individual feels their
development is not being supported by their organisation because they are experiencing general job
dissatisfaction or stress caused by a lack of investment in their skills they may choose to move on.
Driven individuals who want to develop their skills will relocate to rival firms who offer better
opportunities for skills development because in modern society there is almost no stigma attached
to people moving jobs to further their career.
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