Skills for Future Success

Skills for Future Success

The ‘Skills for Future Success’ report sets out how financial, professional and business services can address skills challenges to deliver recovery and growth in UK regions and nations

The report, from the Professional & Business Services Council and the Financial Services Skills Commission, found almost one-third of sector employers reporting skills shortages resulting in vacancies, with thousands of critical roles in areas like data and technology going unfilled.

The research, supported by Capgemini, City of London Corporation, PwC, and TheCityUK, also found firms reporting increased operating costs and staff workload as a result of skills challenges.

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Skills shortages have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with automation, digitisation, globalisation and changing workforce demographics all contributing to the challenge. This has resulted in new skills needs, encompassing technology, interpersonal skills and industry knowledge.

The report calls for employers, Government, and education providers to seize new opportunities for the upskilling and reskilling of the UK workforce. It also suggests more detailed skills forecasting is necessary to understand the specific skills and scale required for emerging areas like low carbon services. Failure to act could leave the UK losing out to its global competitors.

These trends are significant as financial, professional and business services are a major employer and recruiter – providing 5.5m jobs across the UK and hiring nearly 20% of graduates entering the UK labour market each year. Almost three quarters (73%) of FPBS jobs are located outside London and the sector accounts for one in seven of all jobs outside the capital.

The report finds that many regional firms face more acute skills challenges, especially SMEs that struggle to recruit highly skilled employees and lack strong collaborations between employers, local government, and education providers. On the other hand, trends show an increasing regional presence, with 43% of surveyed employers consolidating their presence in a few strategic hubs across the UK.

While some businesses and education providers are rising to meet the skills challenges, more action is needed to ensure the sector, regions and nations are prepared for the future. The report recommends an eight-point plan, focused on deepening the pool of talent in the regions and nations and benefiting firms of all sizes:

  1. Building a lifelong learning culture across the sector
  2. Increasing the supply of tech skills and digital literacy across the sector and wider economy
  3. Ensuring that efforts to build a skilled workforce are underpinned by a commitment to diversity and inclusion
  4. Enhancing strategic workforce planning capabilities across the sector to identify future skills needs
  5. Supporting mid-career retraining through an employer-led skills brokerage service and clearer pathways into the sector
  6. Attracting and retaining highly skilled talent across the regions through strengthening the talent pipeline and locating senior roles in regions
  7. Boosting the availability of skills across the regions through strategic collaborations between employers, education providers, and regional government
  8. Developing regional centres of specialisation, building on clusters that already exist

Thank you to everyone who has attended roundtables and interviews and input to this work.