7. Whilst the proportion of vacancies that are hard to fill due to skill shortages is slightly lower in Wales than found in the UK as a whole (22 per cent), it still presents a challenge for the Welsh economy as economic growth and the recovery may be constrained by these skill shortages. Indeed, nearly all employers (97 per cent) who said all of their hard-to-fill vacancies were as a result of skill shortages reported these were having an impact on their establishment. This was most commonly in the form of increased workload for other staff (an issue for 90 per cent of those with skill-shortage vacancies) but these establishments also commonly mentioned skill-shortage vacancies impacting on business performance, for example having difficulties meeting customer service objectives (49 per cent), delays in developing new products and services (47 per cent) and losing business orders to competitors (45 per cent). The proportion of employers facing this issue is small, but the impact these recruitment difficulties have on these employers is considerable.
Across the UK, 12 per cent of establishments report having vacancies at the time of interview (636,000 vacancies in total). The labour market is generally able to meet demand, with less than a quarter of all vacancies described as „hard to fill‟ (23 per cent). While only a small proportion of establishments report hard-to-fill vacancies (four per cent), where they do exist they can considerably restrict the size of an establishment‟s workforce: smaller establishments (with fewer than 25 employees) account for 34 per cent of all employment, but 66 per cent of hard-to-fill vacancies. The problem is also acute for certain occupations; two in five vacancies for Skilled Trade positions (41 per cent) are hard to fill. Where employers experience hard-to-fill vacancies, these can have an impact both on the rest of the workforce and on the business directly in terms of challenging employers‟ ability to meet customer demand. A lack of skills, work experience and qualifications are the main causes of these recruitment problems (accounting for 72 per cent of hard-to-fill vacancies).
It is up to the profession to be alert to such opportunities, but also to be proactive in seeking these out and ensuring that colleagues in the firm know that they have the relevant skills. There are ways in which you can lay the groundwork for this. For instance, librarians who feel that financial management and contract negotiation is a key strength that could be employed elsewhere should ensure that they are able to demonstrate these skills in the context of their current responsibilities. It is worth documenting any savings you can achieve on budgets (either through internal or external negotiations) and recording the process of budget negotiations, so you can readily cite striking examples of success in these. It is important that such successes are communicated to senior management. Many senior law firm figures have little idea of what individual resources cost or of the high year-on-year increases which publishers try to achieve. A few choice examples of negotiating successes with some high value subscriptions are certainly worth publicising.
consistently as one of the key challenges facing Wales, both in terms of education and lifelong learning and how the issue relates to wider policy concerns, such as economic development, social inclusion and poverty reduction. For example, the 2009 Community Cohesion Strategy for Wales identified a clear link between basic skills and cohesion and the need to break down the circle of inter-generational disadvantage of people with poor literacy and numeracy. More recently the Child Poverty Strategy 8 emphasised the need for investment in the Employer Pledge programme, as a way of tackling child poverty in Wales and pursuing the social justice agenda. The current Programme for Government includes a new commitment to introduce a statutory literacy and numeracy framework into schools.
All counts relating to comments in this report refer to numbers of respondents providing comments of that specific type and/or area, and as such negative and positive comments in a given area may not equal the total amount of respondents given (i.e. because individual respondents may have provided both negative and positive comments). The terms ‘respondents’ and ‘participants’ refer to those who gave free-text comments (unless otherwise specified). Readers are advised to note the limitations of counts in interpreting the data without recourse to the content of comments, as the counts do not take into account the strength of comments or their seriousness (e.g. a comment suggesting that meals could be improved in a specific area would count towards the total in the same way as a more serious complaint relating to care or treatment, and the same logic holds true for positive comments). It is also important to keep in mind that the data discussed reflect patient experiences and perceptions, and that no claims are made regarding the events described beyond reporting these findings as such. Finally, it is important to state that the weight of exemplary comments provided in each section is not intended to reflect the number of comments given, but
Across the UK, 12 per cent of establishments report having vacancies at the time of interview (636,000 vacancies in total). The labour market is generally able to meet demand, with less than a quarter of all vacancies described as „hard to fill‟ (23 per cent). While only a small proportion of establishments report hard-to-fill vacancies (four per cent), where they do exist they can considerably restrict the size of an establishment‟s workforce: for smaller establishments (with fewer than 25 employees) experiencing hard- to-fill vacancies, these vacancies are equivalent to a quarter (25 per cent) of their workforce. The problem is also acute for certain occupations; two in five vacancies for Skilled Trade positions (41 per cent) are hard to fill. Where employers experience hard- to-fill vacancies, these can have an impact both on the rest of the workforce and on the business directly in terms of challenging employers‟ ability to meet customer demand. A lack of skills, work experience and qualifications are the main causes of these recruitment problems (accounting for 72 per cent of hard-to-fill vacancies).
The analysis in this report is based on the UK-wide data files for the UK Commission’s EmployerSkillsSurvey 2011 and Employer Perspectives Survey 2007. In 2011, in order to maintain a reasonable interview length, establishments in the sample outside of Scotland were randomly allocated to two modules, and only those in the first module (and all establishments in Scotland) were asked questions relating to HPW. These are marked with an asterisk in Table 2.1. In addition, the 2011 data file includes responses from establishments with one or more people working at them, whereas the 2007 EPS sample is of establishments with two or more people working at them. In order to ensure comparability with the population covered by the 2007 survey, the descriptive analysis excludes establishments with just one person working at them. The unweighted base size for the HPW questions in the 2011 sample was 44,691; slightly over half the total sample. The HPW and related indicators in the 2011 survey can be grouped into sets of practices. The analysis undertaken for this project, including assessing the correlations between practice use, is based on three main groups of practices: work organisation (opportunities for employee involvement and participation); skills acquisition (training and development); and motivation enhancement (incentives to perform in line with the organisation’s objectives) (Appelbaum et al. 2000; Kalleberg et al. 2006; de Menezes and Wood 2006). These groupings align well with the 4As model identified above. Only one practice (Equal opportunities policy) relates to the Access category. The remaining three areas (application, attitude and ability) correspond reasonably closely to employee involvement, motivational practices and skills acquisition respectively.
In previous editions of the survey, such establishments were pre-identified where possible, so that interviewers had advance warning that other establishments within the chain might already have been approached for interview. There was a particular focus on the finance and retail sectors which are characterised by centralised telephony operations, whereby all or multiple branches are accessed through the same central switchboard (meaning that this switchboard might be contacted on several occasions, often in quick succession). In line with the approach adopted in 2013, large multisite organisations (i.e. those with over 700 or more sites), along with the large banks that were being contacted by UKCES, were managed and only contacted by the lead contractor (IFF Research). This enabled contacts for multisite organisations to be split across a number sample batches and released sequentially over the course of fieldwork to ensure that the various sites were not contacted within too short a time window.
Training as defined in this way is intended to capture all activity which employers and employees would recognise as training. However, broader activity can take place which leads to skill development but which may not be classified as training. For this reason the UK Commission’s EmployerSkillsSurvey 2011 also asked employers whether they had engaged in any broader development activities, specifically: supervision to ensure that employees are guided through their job role over time; opportunities for staff to spend time learning through watching others perform their job roles; and allowing staff to perform tasks that go beyond their strict job role and providing feedback on how well they had done. As we see later in this chapter, a significant number of employers did not provide on- or off-the-job training but did engage in some of these broader development activities. However, unless otherwise stated it is on- and off-the-job training activity which is described in this chapter. The way in which the training questions were asked in the previous Scottish EmployerSkills Surveys differed slightly to the way it has been asked in the 2011 survey (see section 1.2 of this report). As such the data is not directly comparable for this measure and so time series data is only referred to in a qualitative manner as being indicative of a change rather than as being evidence for a change in levels of training.
The scale and scope of data collected by the UK Commission’s EmployerSkillsSurvey 2011 means that it is a valuable research resource supporting detailed and complex statistical analysis of the inter-relationships between employer characteristics, and their practices and experiences. The findings presented in this report have been produced through a more descriptive exploration of the data. The large base sizes on which most of the findings are based mean that we can have a good degree of confidence in the patterns that we describe; the document should not be read as a statistical report, however. A table showing confidence intervals is shown in Appendix G to give some indicative guidance as to what can be considered a “significant” difference at sub-group level. Throughout the report unweighted base figures are shown on tables and charts to give an indication of the statistical reliability of the figures. These figures are always based on the number of establishments answering a question, as this is the information required to determine statistical reliability. Therefore, where percentages are based on “all vacancies”, the base figure quoted is the number of establishments with vacancies. As a general convention throughout the report, figures with a base size of fewer than 25 establishments are not reported (with a double asterisk, “**”, displayed instead), and figures with a base size of 25 to 49 are italicised with a note of caution.
Skills challenges are faced internally as well as when recruiting. The employerskills surveys carried out in each of the countries of the UK over the last few years have consistently shown that a key cause of establishments having skill gaps is where staff are new or inexperienced (in NESS 2007 68% of establishments with skills gaps reported this as a cause of at least some of these gaps, compared to only 28% for the next most important reason). It follows that where there is a high turnover of staff an establishment is more likely to have skills challenges / gaps and face high recruitment and vacancy costs. The CIPD Annual SurveyReport Recruitment, Retention and Turnover shows that 70% of establishments highlight the loss of staff as having a negative impact on business performance and suggests an average cost of filling a single vacancy of £4,667 and as much as £5,800 when associated labour turnover costs are included) (CIPD, 2008). It is interesting therefore to consider the extent to which employers experience difficulties holding on to (skilled) staff. All employers were asked the extent to which they agreed or disagreed that holding onto valued staff presented them with a significant problem. Whilst the majority of establishments (63%) do not report difficulties in holding onto valued staff, a significant proportion (28%) do report that the retention of valued staff poses a problem. (This question was not asked in previous waves of this research.)
For the first time, this survey introduced an experimental question to look at how employers perceived potential under-use of skills in the workplace. This single question led to half of UK establishments (49 per cent) reporting having at least one employee with both qualifications and skills that are more advanced than required for their current role. In volume terms, this is 4.5 million employees (16 per cent total UK workforce). It should be noted that this indicative finding requires more investigation and follow-up work, and was reached in a single question, rather than an established suite of questions, as for skills gaps. However, the early indications we can glean from it show that under-use of skills is an issue that employers understand and can recognise in their workforce. This inevitably has consequences for the overall productivity of the UK economy as a whole. The other area investigated in this chapter was retention issues faced in Northern Ireland, England and Wales (no data for this section is available in Scotland). Overall, five per cent of establishments in these three nations reported having difficulties retaining staff. Employers operating in the Hotels and Restaurants sector were the most likely to experience retention difficulties. The main issues cited as being reasons for problems with retention were a lack of interest in the type of work in question; and a lack of career progression. As with skill-shortage vacancies and skills gaps, the most commonly cited impact of retention issues was an impact on other staff, particularly a strain on management or other staff covering the shortage.
We now turn to consider non-QCF training. Our control group in this case is derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), and in particular from 7 waves of the LFS 5-quarter longitudinal sample (January-March 2014 to January-March 2015, April-June 2014 to April-June 2015 etc., up to July-September 2015 to July-September 2016). This time period roughly coincides with the EOP. We take individuals observed to be in training (defined as being in education or training connected to work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey) in wave 1 of their LFS responses, but not in training in wave 2. This ensures their wage observed in wave 5 is around 1 year after the training has finished, as in the EOP survey structure. Note that this does not imply that their training is necessarily short – they could have been in training for a while before first observed in wave 1. Note also that they may start another period of training in wave 3, but this option is also available to EOP learners. For our control group of trainees, the ‘before’ wage is their wave 1 wage while the ‘after’ wage is their wave 5 wage, so that the LFS control group wages are always 1 year apart.
Elsewhere, analysis of free-text responses to the CPES from patients identified with London Trusts has been undertaken by Wiseman et al. (2015). In 2012, the Cancer Delivery Plan for NHS Wales has recognised the important of patient experience and established a commitment to produce a national survey . The first Wales Cancer Patient Experience Survey (WCPES) was conducted in 2013 through a partnership between the Welsh Government and Macmillan Cancer Support, and was administered by Quality Health. In common with the England CPES, closed questions in the Walessurvey related to a number of topic areas, for example: seeing your GP; diagnostic tests; clinical nurse specialist; support for people with cancer . The majority of respondents related positive experiences of their care; however, there also exist groups of patients who report less positive experience in a variety of areas.
In this report, economic and other activities are primarily described in terms of 14 sectors, defined by the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), for more information see Appendix C 7 ; these sectors are shown in Figure 2.2 below. Most of these sectors are dominated by commercially-focused organisations whose aim is to generate profit. However, each of the sectors will also include a proportion of establishments whose motivation is more social and/or which operate under funding from local or central government. In a small number of sectors, the majority of establishments operate outside of a commercial imperative, such, as Public Administration, Education and Health and Social Work 8 . The greatest numbers of Northern Ireland establishments operate in Wholesale and Retail (18 per cent), Business Services (14 per cent) and Construction (12 per cent). By contrast, the Electricity, Gas & Water Supply (one per cent) and Finance Services (three per cent) sectors account for very small proportions of establishments in Northern Ireland. The number of establishments and their size profile differ greatly by sector. The Construction, Community, Social and Personal Service activities and the Agriculture sectors are dominated by small establishments. This is illustrated in Figure 2.2, which shows that these sectors contain a much larger share of establishments than employees (for example, 12 per cent of Northern Ireland’s establishments were part of the Construction sector but only five per cent of employees work in this sector). The Manufacturing, Health and Social Work, Public Administration and Education sectors were dominated by larger employers. As Figure 2.2 shows, these sectors contain a relatively small share of Northern Ireland’s establishments compared with their share of workers. For instance, the Health and Social Work contains eight per cent of establishments but 15 per cent of workers. The Health & Social Work, Public Administration and Education sectors were also dominated by establishments which rely on public funding.
Today too many organisations find it hard to recruit the skilled people they need; this poses serious risks to the health and survival of businesses and to their bottom line performance. The survey reveals a sharp rise in skills shortages which may be holding back the UK’s economic recovery. This is not a new phenomenon. Such deficiencies have persisted over time in some sectors and occupations indicating that there is a need to take decisive action. At the same time as a growing shortage of certain skills there is also evidence of a surplus and mismatch in other areas, with the survey finding that almost half of employers report having staff with skills and qualifications beyond those required for their current job. There are also indications of pressures on skills investment. For example, the amount spent on training has fallen by £2.5 billion since 2011. The survey also questions whether UK employers are being ambitious enough when it comes to both investing in their people and their broader business strategies.
Training activity measured both by proportion of establishments and by proportion of employment was most common amongst those SIC sectors dominated by public service establishments: Education (92 per cent of establishments provided training to 69 per cent of their staff), Health and Social Work (88 per cent of establishments and 73 per cent of their staff) and Public Administration and Defence (87 per cent of establishments and 63 per cent of staff). Employer training activity was also considerably higher than average in the Financial Intermediation SIC sector (80 per cent). In the Agriculture and Manufacturing SIC sectors, low proportions of employers provide training to low proportions of their workforce (55 per cent of employers and 42 per cent of the workforce for Agriculture; 60 per cent of employers and 44 per cent of the workforce for Manufacturing). Retail and Wholesale and Transport, Storage and Communications were the SIC sectors where employers were least likely to have provided training in the past 12 months (60 per cent and 61 per cent respectively).
In the six years that elapsed between the surveys much changed in the economic landscape of Wales. Comparison of the survey figures at these two points emphasises the extent to which the 2008 recession affected the labour market in Wales, with vacancy levels still less than two-thirds what they were during the mid-2000s. Logically, with fewer jobs to be had there will be more applicants per position. It therefore follows that proportionately the reduction in the percentage of establishments that are finding any of their vacancies hard-to-fill vacancies is higher than the reduction in vacancies overall. However, it is of note that the proportion experiencing skill-shortage vacancies has not reduced at all, suggesting that there is as much of an issue in finding suitably skilled applicants for positions as there was previously. When viewed as a proportion of those with vacancies, there are in fact more: one in three establishments with vacancies in 2011 were finding any of their vacancies hard to fill due to skill-shortages, compared to one in five in 2005.
7.18 Smarter training strategies. Key reasons for non-training and not training more included lack of funds and lack of time. One way to address these issues is greater use of online training or e-learning, currently offered by a significant minority of employers in Wales and expected to increase over time. E-learning was not necessarily delivered at the expense of other more traditional routes, as off-the-job training had also increased since 2013. This pattern suggests that employers can successfully diversify their approach to training and/or offer flexibility in learning modes to meet employee needs. 7.19 Creating a highly trained workforce. International trends indicate a shift
This can be explained to some extent by the fact that this is the most prevalent occupation across establishments, and there is a natural narrowing of the ladder as it reaches the top, meaning that the number of people who can continue to climb is limited. Furthermore, as individuals assume positions of management, they can commonly cease to need to utilise some of the more technical skills and qualifications that they have previously acquired (e.g. skills and qualifications that relate to the core service that their organisation provides). If they, or their employer, perceives these technical or service- related skills and qualifications to be “more advanced” than needed for their managerial role, then they may report this rise up the job ladder as reflecting under-utilisation of the full repertoire of their skills. It is also worth noting that, particularly within smaller establishments, the respondent is likely to be at management level, and individuals may be more likely to identify their own skills and qualifications as beyond those needed for their role.