SME skill shortages bite

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Almost half of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have accused UK employees of having poor standards of education and training; these are the findings from a survey on staff recruitment, conducted by NOP World for the Tenon Forum.

The survey, published in December, shows that 43% of SMEs blamed recruiting difficulties on inadequate levels of education or training in the workforce.

Jolyon Stonehouse, Chairman of the Forum commented:

"SMEs increasingly rely on the quality of their staff members to set them apart from the larger corporations; so if poor levels of education and training are holding them back from recruiting, SMEs will soon be facing a huge issue.

"To address this knowledge gap, SMEs will undoubtedly have to focus on ways of improving standards in-house - whether it be through on-the-job training or allowances for employees to gain educational training alongside their work."

Over a quarter (29%) of SMEs in the construction industry expressed concern about standards while one in ten SME employers in finance and business and agriculture were worried about educational standards.

At 33%, transport and communications showed the highest levels of dissatisfaction with both education and training, closely followed by manufacturing (32%) of SMEs.

Bosses in the Midlands showed the most discontent (37%) with poor education and inadequate training levels.

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6th Jan 2005 12:19

Well over 60% of all SMEs are one man (gender neutral) bands.
43% of SMEs report problems with educational & skill level. Does this mean self analysis taking place?
Has the correlation between those experiencing difficulty, and those offering minimum wage rewards been examined.If so is it statistically significant?(Market forces)
Is the problem serious enough for these SMEs to allocate funds and resources into providing serious training to develop the quality resource they feel they need? (Do SMEs look at long term solutions)
My suspicion is that SMEs tend to avoid expenditure on training/development whilst they can obtain no cost,no value, low quality, grant funded placebo courses from Tec's, WDA, etc.

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