Reliable and skilled employees are essential in driving a company forward. This means that there is some concern about challenges in the STEM sector. A study undertaken by an organisation which provides STEM education and support suggests that there are skills shortages in the sector which costs businesses more than £1.5bn each year.
These costs are down to matters like hiring temporary employees to fill gaps, recruitment costs, the cost of training employees and rising salaries. The study suggests that there is a shortfall of 173,000 skilled employees for STEM businesses and that in the past year, close to 90% of firms have endured difficulties in recruiting employees.
Many firms have unfilled roles
The study suggests that every business which responded, on average, has 10 roles which are unfilled.
These gaps increase the time taken for the recruitment process, which has been recognised as taking 31 days more than normal to be completed.
This leads to three quarters of firms looking for temporary solutions such as agency staff, train and promote upwards, reduce the level of employment in the firm or increase salaries by a significant amount to bring in the best talent for the roles. In some of the larger firms, it has been found that salaries have been inflated by as much as £8,500.
While individual companies are experiencing challenges with respect to recruitment, there is an overall impact on the UK economy. In the study, 54% of firms stated a belief that the UK could fall behind with respect to technological development because of the shortage in employees. Over 40% of respondents suggested that the UK would suffer with respect to its credentials and reputation in the R&D sector and half of the respondents believed that the UK would not be as attractive as it was previously to overseas investors.
Brexit is just one issue for firms in this sector to contend with
Given the concerns over Brexit and what impact that might have on foreign investors, it is easy to see why there is growing unease over what is happening in this sector.
The Chief Executive of STEM Learning, Yvonne Baker, released a statement, saying; “We are heading towards a perfect storm for STEM businesses in the UK – a very real skills crisis at a time of uncertainty for the economy and as schools are facing unprecedented challenges.”
It would be advantageous for the UK to remain pace with the latest technological changes, but this isn’t a situation that can be left in the hands of the Government or educators alone, although these bodies will have a role to play.
Individual firms need to realise that there is a problem with STEM recruitment and that they should tailor their services to resolving their own issues. Forward planning and focusing on in-house training can minimise some of the issues that employers face but getting recruitment right is also essential.
At Technical Resources, we are pleased to say that we have considerable experience and expertise in helping firms get recruitment right and we look forward to assisting you in this area.