SMEs face skills shortages

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Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to find candidates with the required skills, a new survey has found.

According to research by Aldermore, 43 per cent of SME owners across the country have problems finding qualified people to fill certain positions.

This is proving to be a particular problem in London and the south-east, where more than half of SMEs reported skills shortages.

Figures showed that a similar proportion of SMEs in Yorkshire and Wales also find it difficult to attract skilled candidates.

Many are concerned that the problem will only get worse in light of the UK's forthcoming exit from the European Union.

Indeed, 22 per cent of SME owners said that since Brexit will restrict their access to the EU jobs market, their business would be negatively affected.

Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, commented: "SMEs operating in the construction sector have experienced particular difficulties recruiting the staff they need, and it is a similar story in the agriculture sector.  

"One area that firms can focus on to close the skills gap is by supporting training and development for their existing staff."

Mr D'Ammassa went on to note that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has previously highlighted a shortage of digital skills as a challenge for many businesses.

As a result, he believes this is an area that the government must "continue to focus on".