Report Segment: Skills Shortages
Evidently, there is a need to be precise about the exact type of labour shortages being experienced by companies. Most labour shortages are short lived and in the turbulence of economic cycles, a skilled shortage can easily become an over supply. So one must treat with some caution the ‘call to arms’ sometimes expressed by skills agencies and employers.
Forecasting supply and demand of skilled labour is difficult to do in a stable market. Anticipating the skills landscape in a volatile economy and within a new growth sector such as renewable energy is much more difficult.
However it is worth considering that 80% of the training required for an individual working in the energy sector can be classed as generic engineering, either gained before entering the workplace (at HE or FE), or as part of CPD, for those already in work (e.g. project management training). 20% of an individual’s skills profile can be thought of as sub-sector specific – addressing particular gaps in knowledge or competence specific to the job required. In this context, there is little danger in creating an oversupply of skilled labour for the energy sector since the bulk of the learning (the 80% component) will fit into the generic engineering skills category and will therefore be transferable between sectors – and therefore relevant to a whole range of technical jobs in the UK labour market.