West businesses must address growing skills gap, warns ICAEW
Over a third of businesses in the South-West region have reported that the availability of non-management skills is a greater challenge than a year ago, according to the latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton Business Confidence Monitor (BCM).
According to the BCM, 34% of companies reported that the availability of non-management skills is a rising challenge.
Key findings for Q4 2015 included a confidence index score of +16.6, a slight dip from +21.8 recorded a year ago.
The report also found sales volumes for companies in the region increased by 4.3% year-on-year, down from 4.8% in the same period in 2014. Turnover is forecast to grow by 5.9%, up from the 4% year-on-year increase recorded in the latest quarter
Businesses are planning to increase headcounts by 2.6% over the coming 12 months, a notable rise on the 1.6% growth recorded over the past year.
Tim Lincoln, Head of Practice at Grant Thornton South West commented:
“This quarter’s figures show that confidence has taken a slight dip as we approach the end of the year, but turnover is continuing to grow at a faster rate. As we look ahead to 2016, the focus should be on helping businesses continue to grow at a sustainable level and creating a vibrant economy, that helps dynamic businesses to thrive.
“Businesses in the South West are looking to increase employment levels over the next year, which is a great step forward for the local economy. However skills shortages, particularly in non-management skills, risk stifling the region’s growth and are a real concern to many businesses.”