CBI: beware ‘war on talent.’ Also: the sky is falling

The Confederation of British Industry has sounded the alarmist klaxon, swearing up and down that there’s a ‘war on talent’ destroying British industry.

The trade industry body played the role of Chicken Little at a recent networking conference held at King’s College, proclaiming that the sky is falling and doing so in a great big hurry when it comes to the employment markets. However, it’s not Foxy Loxy waiting to devour the little chick: this time it’s the Big Bad Wolf in the form of the skills shortage.

To be honest the idea of the talent gap makes sense, as there are shedloads of retirement-aged workers getting ready to transition out of any number of industries and there just aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill these soon to be empty roles. In all honestly it is a cause for some concern, but apparently the CBI thinks that unless this issue is resolved tout de suite the world is going to end in a fiery pyroclasm of economic collapse. Cats and dogs living together, so on and so forth. Surely, it will be anarchy.

So what’s the CBI recommending we do? Should we be digging bomb shelters in our back gardens and stocking it with pounds sterling until the apocalypse comes and goes? Well short-term solutions have always been to use freelancers and umbrella company contractors to fill the gaps. These interim workers are adept at keeping the motors of industry humming along for a limited time whilst the country’s educational institutions get themselves sorted; CBI urged schools, colleges and universities to work together with businesses to prepare students for real-world roles in key industry areas that need it the most.

This is most likely as fine a solution as any other, at least for the time being. Still, even the most well-funded university with the best course selections for budding engineers and scientist are well and bloody useless if the students themselves aren’t interested. You can certainly lead a horse to water but you can’t force them to do complex mathematics if they don’t feel a passion for it; if you ask me the job lies in the primary and secondary schools to inculcate that sort of joy of learning early if you really want to see an actual difference.

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