SME growth hindered by skills gap

A shortage of skilled staff is causing concerns for many UK SMEs, a recent report has revealed.

As well as revelations regarding the finance issues faced by many SMEs, The Albion Growth Report, which examining the trials and tribulations faced by 450 SMEs with a combined turnover of over £1.6bn, highlighted the growing skills gaps faced by many small enterprises.

According to the report, the sales departments of many SMEs are suffering the most, as reported by one in six (16%) of respondents. The IT department (12%) came second, with concerns regarding the financial management teams (10%) coming third.

Greater London (50%) and the West Midlands (40%) report the biggest skills gaps. As the most densely popular business areas in the UK, many SMEs in these areas face tough competition to hire the best and most suitable staff. Businesses in these regions face the toughest competition to hire the right staff. Employers are turning to alternative methods of recruitment, such as apprenticeships, to combat this issue.

Cormac Hollingsworth, Director at New City Network, comments: “The UK’s economic recovery relies in large part on a thriving SME community.  To continue to improve the policy mix it’s vital that we develop an intimate picture of what is preventing small businesses from growing. While a shortage of bank lending is clearly a factor, it appears to have received a disproportionate level of attention at the expense of plugging skills shortages.  The appetite for growth is there in the UK economy, but we must stop putting hurdles in our own way.”