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Skills development needs staff investment

8 February 2011

Employees need to take more responsibility for their own training and development to ensure the skills they have match business needs, according to new research out today from Hays, the leading recruiting expert. Despite high levels of unemployment, industries like IT, finance and energy are still experiencing skills shortages and have roles they cannot fill. Whilst employers have a responsibility to develop the right skills to plug these gaps, employees shouldn’t ignore the issue.

The new survey of workers in the private sector also reveals that over half (55%) do not know, or are unsure about, the skills employers are likely to demand in the next five years. Over half (58%) report that the skills required for their current roles are already changing and just under half (46%) are concerned their current skill set will be insufficient to meet employers expectations in five years time.

Sixty-one per cent of workers complain that their current employer is not doing enough to invest in their skills. But almost half (49%) assert that primary responsibility should actually fall to them to make sure they have the skills needed by their industry, rather than their employer, relevant professional bodies or the government.

Yet despite this, over a third (37%) aren’t taking any action to remedy this shortfall themselves. And those that are may not be doing enough; the majority of workers (60%) say the only action they are taking to keep up with the skills needed by their industry is staying up-to-date with trends through trade magazines and seminars. Only around a third are looking to obtain relevant qualifications or are enrolling on courses to enhance specialist skills.

Charles Logan, Director at Hays, comments: “Many employers have understandably been focusing on immediate survival and agility over recent years, and our research indicates that they may themselves be unsure about the skills they will require in years to come. If they can gain an understanding of this and communicate what they will need it will help employees to work towards building their skill sets in the right direction.”

“But, employees also need to start taking ownership of their career. Many sectors are still experiencing skills shortages, with employers unable to fill key positions. To take advantage of these vacancies, jobseekers should invest in their future by developing skills that are needed by businesses. They cannot rely on their employer to keep their skills and experience sufficiently suited to changing markets. They will need to talk to experts in the field and undertake their own research to find out what skills are needed now and in the future.”

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About the survey
The Hays research spoke to over 500 private sector employees in December 2010 and January 2011.

About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is the leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2010, the Group employed 6,845 staff operating from 270 offices in 28 countries across 17 specialisms.

For the year ended 30 June 2010:
– the Group reported net fees of £557.7 million and operating profit of £80.5 million;
– the Group placed around 50,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 180,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 26% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 30% in Continental Europe & RoW and 44% in the United Kingdom & Ireland
– the temporary placement business represented 58% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 42% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE and the United Kingdom.

For further press information please contact:
Amy Murphy, CHA
T. 020 7580 7025

Claire Fowler, Hays
T. 020 7259 8821