Employers are coming to the conclusion that educational institutions cannot be relied upon to provide them with sufficient talent to plug their expanding skills gaps, the executive VP and COO of an international staffing agency has claimed.

George Corona, talking to HR Magazine, explained that the need for more specialist skills is pushing more and more employers toward developing their own workplace training schemes in the context of an ageing workforce and a failure of educational establishments to provide the requisite skills in sufficient quantities. He said: “These are new concepts. Before, companies would rely on the government and school systems to be able to deliver this talent, but they just can’t anymore.”

Mr Corona was drawing on his experience of the US labour market; however, his views were echoed by Gary Jones, Kelly Services’ VP and MD for the UK and Ireland, who said: “We have more opportunities now than we do jobseekers. When we go to graduate fairs we almost have to pull graduates by the ears to drag them in, because they can be very, very choosy.”

With skills shortages becoming an ever-more ubiquitous concern for a diverse range of UK businesses, long-term solutions for building an effective talent pipeline are clearly a pressing priority, ideally borne of collaboration between government, educational establishments and industry.

In the meantime, however, skills gaps have to be plugged. It is little wonder that employers are turning to skilled Umbrella Company employees and other independent professionals from the UK’s freelancing and contracting community to help them to ensure that business-critical projects are competently completed.

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