The British Academy welcomes the UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2015 and OECD Building Skills for All study. It is positive to see the growth in overall vacancies, however, it is concerning to note that the number of skill-shortage vacancies has gone up by 43% since 2013.
Evidence from our work into the nature of language skills in the labour market, Born Global, shows how increased efforts to develop language skills could help to tackle many of the other skills shortages reported by employers, including: problem-solving, time-management and prioritisation, customer relations, persuading and influencing. Our evidence points to a transferable skill-set gained through language learning and international experience.
Further concerning shortages have been identified in quantitative skills (QS). 29% of respondents to the survey found ‘complex numerical and statistical skills' to be difficult to obtain from applicants, with 24% struggling to recruit those with basic numerical skills. In the OECD report, 9 million in England were reported as being unable to "estimate how much petrol is left in the petrol tank from a sight of the gauge." The Academy's Count Us In report (2015) also points to the growing QS deficit across the whole system of schools and colleges, universities and the workplace.
Welcoming today's report, Alun Evans, Chief Executive of the British Academy, said "The Academy is working to tackle many of the issues raised in today’s report through our ongoing work on languages and quantitative skills. We are planning to undertake further work on skills in order to understand the relationship between humanities and social science training and a highly skilled labour-market."