World Economy

British SMEs Worry About Shortage of Skilled Workers

British SMEs Worry About Shortage of Skilled Workers  British SMEs Worry About Shortage of Skilled Workers

The lack of skilled staff is the biggest single issue facing the UK’s small businesses, a new report has found. Albion Ventures, a private equity house that focuses on the small business sector, this week published research that showed the biggest skills gap reported by over a quarter (26%) of SMEs is marketing, followed by new technology (21%) and business planning (17%).

The Albion Growth report is built on interviews with 1,000 SMEs and takes the temperature of the UK’s small business sector. Manufacturers in particular are suffering serious shortfalls, with the industry reporting the highest level of concern about finding skilled staff, followed by those in the technology and telecoms sector, and construction businesses in third place, SME Insider reported.

Patrick Reeve, managing partner at Albion Ventures said: “A shortage of skilled staff shows that the growth pressures on the economy are at the most sophisticated end of the scale, which is precisely where we can expect to generate the biggest returns.  The economy is coming under capacity constraints at a time of considerable political uncertainty.”

The report also points out that there is no issue with the supply of unskilled workers–that concern has dropped to number 15 on the list.

“Policymakers charged with deciding our post-Brexit future must recognize that many of the skills that enable us to compete in a fast-changing and increasingly competitive world are in short supply and our best chance of overcoming this challenge is by building on the UK’s reputation as a home for global talent,” Reeve concluded.

 Lack of Knowledge 

New research has highlighted a worrying lack of knowledge about loan guarantees among small business owners. SME finance provider Wirefund commissioned the research that shows while 55% of SMEs don’t understand personal guarantees in business loans, 79% say they are discouraged to take out loans that may put them at serious risk.

Wirefund asked 510 senior SME decision makers questions relating to the terms and conditions of loans–specifically personal guarantees–to determine whether SMEs understood this very common practice, which is tucked away in the small print of most business loans.

Among the key findings from Wirefund’s report:

—55% of SME business owners do not know what a personal guarantee is, with 21% believing it only means that business owners would pay money back on time to the best of their ability

—61% do not realize how far-reaching the liabilities associated with personal guarantees are (in that they relate to personal assets, not just business assets)

—Only 8% realize how inescapable personal guarantees are and that high-street banks always require them, with 20% thinking high street banks never or rarely require a director to put their own assets down as collateral

—79% stated they had not been put off a business loan because it included a personal guarantee. However, shockingly 55% of those SME owners did not understand what a personal guarantee was.

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