UK skills crisis under the CIPD spotlight

New CIPD report lays bare the extent to which the UK is bottom of the class on key international measures, citing that the UK is sleepwalking into a low-value, low-skills economy post-Brexit.

New analysis from the CIPD confirms that 2 decades of under-investment and failed policy means the UK now lags behind all of its European contemporaries and most of the OECD on at least 4 key measures: literacy and numeracy, learning and development, and digital skills.

The UK currently lies fourth from the bottom of the EU league table on participation in job-related adult learning, with evidence showing a marked deterioration since 2007.

Both England and Northern Ireland rank in the bottom 4 OECD countries for literacy and numeracy among 16-24 year olds.

The report, titled ‘Making the UK’s skills system world class’, warns that the UK is sleepwalking into a low-value, low-skills economy that leaves the nation unprepared for a post-Brexit future where the UK is facing restrictions on accessing talent from outside the UK. More specifically, the report finds that UK employers spend less on training than other major UK economies with the gap widening since 2005. Back in 2010, the cost per employee averaged €266 in the UK compared to €511 across the EU.

The report also claims that UK employers train and invest in their people less than most other EU countries, and urges the Government tackle skills shortages by making skills funding available. Out of 19 countries, the UK finishes last on young peoples’ computer problem-solving skills. 

The analysis is part of the CIPD’s formal response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper and highlights multiple failings in the system.

The CIPD has also identified opportunities to build strength and stability into the UK skills system by making additional skills funding a priority, putting skills at the heart of the Industrial Strategy, reframing the Apprenticeship Levy as a training levy and encouraging organisations to be more ambitious in investing more in workplace learning and skills development.

Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser for the CIPD and co-author of the report, comments: “This is a sobering analysis of the state of skills in the UK. Our report should serve as a real wake-up call for the Government. We can either take the high road as a nation, with government, employers, education and business support groups working in partnership to boost investment in skills and create more high-value, high-productivity workplaces. Or, we can keep doing what we’ve always done and get the same mediocre results. The Government should seize this moment to raise the ambitions of the UK. We need to lift the lid on what is happening in UK workplaces and address skills at a much deeper and broader level than ever before. Successive governments have merely tinkered around the edges of skills strategies that have ultimately failed to deliver. Now is the time for real and lasting change and a clear plan of action to address skills at a national, sector and local level.”


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

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UK skills crisis under the CIPD spotlight