Mind the Skills Gap 2023


This research shows that the U.K. workforce lacks the skills the country’s small and medium sized enterprises need to survive and thrive, and that the situation is deteriorating. The polling, conducted by Opinium, found that 82% of SME employers have identified skills gaps within their organisation in the past 12 months. When this question was last polled in 2020 the figure was 65%, so the skills gap has become significantly worse in that period.

The research indicates that since the start of 2022, just one in three SME employees have undertaken any skills training or professional development. There is also a mismatch between the skills employers are looking for and the skills employees think would be effective at increasing their productivity:

  • 25% of employers need a workforce with more numeracy and financial literacy skills. Only 5% of employees think developing these skills would increase their productivity
  • 40% of employers are looking for workers with more digital skills, but only 23% of workers think acquiring these skills would increase their productivity
  • 25% of employers want workers with better literacy skills such as reading, writing, and communicating with others. A mere 2% of workers think developing these skills would increase their productivity