SMEs struggling with shortage of skilled workers, report claims

New research suggests that Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are losing billions of pounds a year in lost sales due to a shortage of skilled workers among other issues.
According to business bank CYBG’s latest SME Health Check Index, which is carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Business and Economics Research (Cebr) and YouGov, business confidence is waning – and today’s SMEs are facing a ‘triple whammy’ of threats.
The bank’s research suggests that SME health has fallen by 48 per cent since 2014 – and that the following three issues are weighing heavily on many of the nation’s small business:

  • A shortage of skilled workers.
  • Rising costs.
  • A lack of borrowing.

Due to the fact that the UK is home to some 5.7 million SMEs – making up 99.9 per cent of all businesses currently operating in the private sector – the bank has estimated that these three issues are costing SMEs approximately £7 billion a year in lost sales.
The first issue appears to be a particular problem among London SMEs, as a separate survey carried out in recent days suggests that City firms are increasingly struggling to recruit top talent.
The latest London Business survey has revealed that recruitment figures have fallen by 43 per cent among London SMEs in recent times.
Kennedy Zvenyika, Managing Director of financial services firm GIC Capital, said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the British economy, but without the right staff being recruited, they will be unable to operate in the way that they need to.”
He added: “Over half of the SMEs in the UK are unable to access the funding that they need to grow their business, with the main reason for this being a lack of understanding about the options that they have available to them.”

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