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The skills shortage is a pandemic which affects a large proportion of small businesses in the UK. Our research found that the majority (71%) of small businesses are suffering from a skills gap in their business, highlighting the sheer scale of this issue.

Although it’s great to see that eight in ten (81%) of those facing a skills gap have implemented measures to address it, businesses who haven’t done so already, whether they’re facing a skills gap currently or not, should consider its future impact.

A skills shortage can restrain and constrict business growth, and having strong measures in place to attract and retain a talented workforce can put your business leagues ahead of your competitors. To help with this issue I’ve summarised some key steps companies should consider taking to address this pivotal issue.

  1. Identify and observe the company’s ideal workers who perform well and hold the necessary skills
Talking to the employees that have the skills and knowledge needed to perform well within the business and understanding what differentiates them from other members of the workforce is a crucial step in this process. It will help to shed more light on the areas and skills which training and recruitment measures will need to focus on.
  1. Strengthen your training programmes for staff
Having robust training schemes in place for new staff as well as existing employees can help you to fine tune your workforce’s skills to better suit your business. Advancements in technology and the ever-changing wants and needs of consumers make updating and expanding your employees’ areas of expertise a necessity.
  1. Don’t just focus on training; including measures aimed at retaining staff is equally, if not more important
Having strong training processes in place for new staff is, of course, key to increasing an employee’s value to the business. However, this could just be a wasted investment if business owners don’t ensure that they stay for the long-term by making their business more attractive than competitors’ companies. Without addressing this, businesses could end up inadvertently paying to train their competitors’ staff.
  1. Consider offering apprenticeships
Teaching the next generation of workers will put you one step ahead and will help you to mould their skills to better suit your business. Our research showed that on in three businesses (31%) are introducing apprenticeships to tackle the skills gap.
  1. What is the average age of your current workforce?
The age of your workers should be a key consideration throughout the talent management process. It’s crucial that businesses organise succession for retiring employees, ideally hiring someone new before they retire to ensure a smooth transition and reduce the chance of business disruption.

By Carl D’Ammassa, Managing Director of Asset Finance at Aldermore