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A joint report brings new urgency to upskilling and reskilling for future skills needs

16 Jul 2021

As a management consultant with Capgemini Invent in the UK, I’ve seen first-hand the profound impact that recent trends and changing demographics have had on the skills needs of employers within the professional services space. In fact, across the UK, almost one-third of employers report vacancies due to skills shortages, with thousands of critical roles in areas like data and technology currently unfilled.

Skills shortages in critical areas have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with automation, digitisation, globalisation and changing workforce demographics contributing to the challenge.

For the last nine months, Capgemini has supported a research initiative to better understand current and future skills challenges within the financial, professional, and business services (FPBS) sector.

The report, ‘Skills for future success’, suggests that addressing skills gaps within the sector could boost its yearly output to levels 12% larger than those observed today, equivalent to £38bn more economic output per year by 2038, with much of these gains helping to support regional levelling-up across the UK.

The research initiative is sponsored by the Professional Business Services Council (PBSC) and Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC), with support from Capgemini, City of London Corporation, PwC, and TheCityUK. Collectively, our team interviewed over 80 employers and held eight regional roundtables across the UK to inform our understanding of current and future skills challenges.

In speaking with business leaders, hiring managers, and associations across the UK, we found that many regional firms face more acute skills challenges than employers in major cities. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) also struggle to recruit highly skilled employees.

Our report calls for employers, Government, and education providers to seize new opportunities for upskilling and reskilling the UK workforce. We also clearly see the need for employers to undertake more detailed skills forecasting to understand the specific skills needs required for future success. At Capgemini Invent, our Workforce Transformation practice partners with clients to help assess the impact of technology on their workforce, design the right workforce mix, implement talent strategies, and transform their peoples’ skills.

And while some businesses and education providers are rising to meet the skills challenges, we believe more action is needed to ensure the sector, regions and nations are prepared for the future. At Capgemini we are working to address many of the recommendations in the report through our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. From our extensive schools’ outreach activities to our apprentice and returners programmes, we are committed to developing skills for the sector and enabling new learning pathways for our people. But there is always more to do and more communities to connect with. Our mission to bridge the digital divide and train the future generation of technical talent has led to our award-winning Coding Academy in partnership with non-profit organisation Code Your Future to train refugees and disadvantaged individuals to  become software developers and gain employment in the technology industry.

This research has given me a renewed focus and urgency to embrace a life-long learning culture. The pace of changing skills is so fast — and the concepts often so complex — that continuous learning requires a lot more than attending the occasional lunch & learn or reading industry articles. Employers and employees alike need to rethink how we upskill and reskill ourselves and others for the future.

Paul Margetts, Managing Director of Capgemini in the UK, shared his view on this topic:

“The need for companies to nurture and secure digital talent to support the next evolution of business transformation is now critical. It must be a key focus if we are to address the growing skills gap. At Capgemini, we are committed to embedding a culture of learning and upskilling through strategic partnerships and programmes that offer exciting and varied long-term careers in the technology industry and support future growth across all industries. Our focus remains on building a diverse talent pool that can set the standard for the future of the digital world we now live in”.