The latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), carried out by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), shows a growing concern about skills shortages in the region.
The number of businesses that reported experiencing recruitment difficulties was 82%, which sees an increase of 25% on the previous quarter. In manufacturing the number of employers reporting difficulties was at its highest level since 2014 at 63%. Businesses are particularly having issues recruiting to skilled technical positions.
Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, commented: “In recent years, both manufacturers and service sector organisations have consistently informed us of the recruitment difficulties they have experienced. Whilst there is positivity relating to increased levels of confidence, this is something that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if we are to ensure that the business climate is conducive towards growth.”
Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP Board, said: “The skills shortage is a key area of on-going development for the Black Country and the LEP has been working hard through programmes such as the Black Country Skills Factory to connect schools and businesses to ensure we are addressing skills shortages across key sectors building a skilled labour force as well as providing expert career advice and pathways for young people in the Black Country.”
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