The UK’s economic growth is being jeopardised by talent shortages in high-skill industries such as engineering and IT, the third annual Global Skills Index from professional recruiter Hays suggests.

Based on employment data from 31 countries, the report is ominously entitled The Perfect Talent Storm. Each country receives a score of between one and ten, calculated from a mixture of factors such as labour market flexibility, education levels and wage pressures. The higher the score, the more aligned supply and demand in the labour market are.

The UK emerges with a dismal 5.1, even lower than the underwhelming 5.2 it scored last year. Only Portugal, Spain and Ireland score lower, while Sweden comes out on top with a score of 6.6.

Of all the economic, business and social factors contributing to the UK’s low score, talent mismatches emerge as the biggest factor by far, scoring 9.6 out of 10. The second largest factor, at 7.7, is wage pressure in high-skilled industries.

Hays CEO Alistair Cox said: “If this talent mismatch continues to rise at the current rate as the economy improves, we will reach crisis point in a matter of months. There is no miracle cure for the issue but in the lead-up to a general election we have to start by acknowledging the problems.”

Mr Cox advised that skilled workers would need to be sourced from overseas in the short term and that skilled immigration policies would have to be modified to enable this.

Implicitly, however, highly skilled Umbrella Company employees contracting in engineering and IT especially can expect to be in huge demand for the foreseeable future.

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