By Daniel Hunter

Employees across the UK are worried that they are not equipped for the future and will be unable to compete with their international rivals. This is according to a new survey of over 2,500 UK workers, carried out for ADP by market research company Opinion Matters, which asked about their hopes and fears for the next ten years.

Almost one quarter of workers feel they do not have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and thrive in their roles, this figure rises considerably when talking to 45-54 year olds (28%) and soars to 40% for manual workers. Worryingly, one in three employees who think they don’t have the skills to succeed admit to concealing their deficiencies from their employers or during the recruitment process.

23% of employees blame this emerging talent gap on cuts and recruitment freezes. Some 18% say lack of training and investment in skills is already a problem, and a further 29% see this as a likely future threat. The IT sector is suffering particularly badly, with some 28% of IT workers and employees in the broader IT sector saying they do not have the skills or training to succeed in their career over the next decade.

Additionally, the prospect of organisations importing skills from abroad is a growing area of concern for UK employees with 15% believing that most talent already comes from overseas while nearly 20% think that this will become a threat to them over the next 10 years. Given these concerns, it is perhaps to be expected that one in three employees describe their organisation as “stagnating”, and one in 10 say their organisation is “going backwards”.

“These findings highlight that many workers feel they are in need of more training and guidance from HR managers and their supervisors," Hazel Privett, HR Director, ADP commented.

"Organisations have been struggling to overcome a skills shortage when recruiting for many years, but for the first time we see that employees themselves feel ill-equipped to excel in the next ten years. This is obviously something that organisations and their HR teams will have to address if they are to get the most out of their workforce and compete internationally.

“Employees’ concern for their personal development also needs to be addressed from a motivational and engagement standpoint. A lack of skills and training leads to an unmotivated workforce, which is toxic for any business. Companies need to invest in new strategies for learning and development to ensure that all employees are equipped with the necessary skills to take the organisation forward. This needs to be addressed before the UK skills gap becomes a black hole.”

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