Coronavirus lockdown puts focus on UK skills gap

Coronavirus lockdown puts focus on UK skills gap

The coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown has served to highlight the widening UK skills gap and the government must act, warns the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

The CIMA has called on the government to look beyond the short-term and focus on future investments in skills.

It also warned that workers in the service industries hit hardest by the coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be most vulnerable despite the government’s support packages.

CIMA said that while the government must tackle immediate issues such as restoring jobs and increasing consumer spending, it must also put emphasis on creating a long-term recovery.

CIMA believes more investment is needed in education and skills development in sectors including digital technology, education technology, healthcare, financial services, engineering and construction.

Prior to the pandemic, a 2019 report by the Industrial Strategy Council already estimated that 20% of the workforce will be significantly under-skilled for their jobs by 2030.

Andrew Harding, Chief Executive at Management Accounting, said: ‘By creating rapid and profound shifts in our economy and the labour market, the pandemic has exacerbated some of the UK’s prevailing issues such as faltering productivity, widening skills gap and failing social mobility.

‘A new, post-lockdown reality is now sinking in, we must not fall into the trap of believing in a return to business as usual.

‘If we are to get the economy back on its feet, remain competitive on the global scene and sustain growth, we must now foster both capital investment in business and invest wisely into developing a skilled, motivated workforce. That provides the opportunity to advance social mobility through creating quality jobs and real wage growth.’



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