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Here comes the consequences of the skills shortage

Well here we go lads: the verdict is in, and the skills shortage is official. But the problem is, what happens next?

The worst has come to pass: a recent survey found that 6 out of every 10 employers are convinced that there is a very serious skills shortage, and the fallout has already started. In fact, many of these same firms also said that they would begin looking overseas to fill important roles instead of employing local Brits, all because the type of graduates the UK education system is churning out right now lack the requisite training to excel in the current economic marketplace.

So what does this mean for sole traders like umbrella company contractors and freelancers? Well, interim workers are likely to be affected by this as much as permanent workers – if British firms are turning their attention outside of the UK to fill vacancies, it’s going to be harder to compete against the sudden influx of new talent. Considering that foreign employees may be willing to work for less, this kind of uneven playing field could absolutely spoil it for British workers desperate to find and keep a job; if you’ve got two identical freelancers with the same expertise and experience and one is willing to work for peanuts, the other is never going to find another client again.

That’s an exaggeration of course, but it’s still a very real possibility. Of course the kinds of skills in the most need right now – most often the kinds of things that only a trained IT contractor would know – are still quite rare, even overseas. This means that IT contractors are in a slightly better boat than the rest of the UK workforce, but just because it’s not taking on water as fast as the others doesn’t mean that it won’t sink too in time.

For what it’s worth, what we really need to do is overhaul or educational system before it’s too late! There are too many Brits out there still struggling, even with the economy beginning to turn around, and we have a moral and ethical obligation to lift ourselves up before we go around lifting up others. Let’s hope there’s something that can be done about all this before it’s too late, eh?

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