The talent drought: nearly half of UK employers face a shortage of workers

October 13, 2023

Almost half (46%) of employers in Britain confess that they are facing a shortage of workers to get the necessary work completed.

This is according to new research from SD Worx, the leading European HR solutions provider. To collect this research, SD Worx surveyed 16,000 businesses in sixteen countries across Europe, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium.

Across Europe, talent droughts are being acutely felt, with six in ten (61%) of French employers noting a shortage of workers, as well as five in ten in Italy (49%) and Germany (47%).

In addition, over a third (38%) of employers in the UK state they encounter difficulty attracting employees when recruiting.

In contrast to this, the UK can boast strong employee retention credentials, nearly half (46%) stating that it’s ‘easy’ to keep employees on the payroll.

Training is key when building an employee-first company

Personal development is a key part of retention strategies, and positively, the majority (73%) of UK employers state that they have technology in place for employee training – giving staff the tools they need to better their skillsets. 

This puts the UK as one of the highest-performing countries for training and development technology availability, ahead of Germany (70%), France (68%) and Italy (68%).

However, despite an availability of technology resources, there is a lag in course implementation and training uptake. Four in ten (41%) of UK employees say that they have little or no time to take training courses at work.

This lack of training drives in companies is causing knock-on effects for job readiness. Four in ten (41%) UK employees also state that they would need to undergo further training if they were looking to find a new job easily on the labour market.

Rachel Clough, UK Country Lead at SD Worx, comments: “The gap between talent supply and demand is widening once again. Moving out of economic downturn, as companies look to grow and expand, it’s crucial to have the right workers on board and the right strategies in place to keep them. Today’s workforces have high expectations for their workplace experience. They want greater control of their career development and expect to have access to the tech tools and upskilling opportunities that will support them along the way. 

“Leaders that empower their workers through training and technology can ensure longer employee tenure and more positive engagement. Maintaining a competitive edge is dependent on a happy workforce. Employees know their worth and won’t hesitate to leave if the grass appears greener elsewhere. That’s why businesses need to work twice as hard to create a positive personal development culture within organisations, as well as arming staff with the tools and capacity to pursue training opportunities.”