Firms are facing an “unprecedented” shortage of skilled workers, with the threat that thousands of vacancies will be left unfilled, a new report has warned.
The number of posts left unfilled has increased by 130% since 2011, according to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
Vacancies because of skills shortages now make up almost a quarter of the total – around 200,000 positions, a study found.
Some sectors were said to be facing an “acute” shortage of skilled workers, including electricity, gas, water and construction.
Research among 90,000 organisations showed that more than a third of vacancies in some industries were not being filled because of skills shortages.
The financial services sector has seen the biggest increase in skills shortages.
Lesley Giles, deputy director of the commission – the Government’s skills experts – said: “With global competition intensifying, the UK urgently needs to boost its productivity.
“Creating good jobs that produce high-quality, bespoke goods and services is just as important.”
Douglas McCormick, one of the group’s commissioners, said: “The UK has witnessed exceptionally strong job creation in the past few years, creating jobs at a faster rate than any other EU country.
“However, this growth has been accompanied by stalling productivity levels. Evidence from the survey suggests that developing the skills of the existing workforce to taking advantage of new technology and digitisation will be critical if the UK is to finally close the productivity gap.”