CII survey finds staff fear UK will fall behind as training cut

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) third annual skills survey has found more than half of employers believe new staff lack necessary kills yet 64% have already cut training budgets and 20% are about to.

The survey found:

  • 26% of employees fear losing their job
  • 2% have been made redundant since the beginning of the current downturn
  • The proportion of firms reporting that skills as an issue had been discussed at board level jumped by more than 10% to 90%
  • 70% of employers are still seeing skills shortages down 6%
  • 66% believe that it is important to carry on investing in staff training in order to be well placed to benefit from the recovery
  • 20% of employers plan to cut spending on training
  • 64% have done so already
  • 39% believe the UK is behind its overseas competitors, down from 41%
  • 46% believe the UK will be behind overseas competitors by 2020.
  • 66% of all respondents thought that those joining the sector today were well equipped
  • 56% of employers said that the education system is not meeting their needs

CII director of policy and public affairs, David Thomson, said: "This survey shows that in insurance and financial services employers and employees alike realise the importance of investing in training and development despite the recession. Cutting training skills in a recession is a dangerous and false economy - ‘Who trains wins' still holds true.

"Despite current economic problems it is important that we, as a sector and as an economy as a whole, continue to focus on long term skills goals. Though it is necessary to deal with particular short term issues as a result of the recession, we must strive for improvements well into the future. Global competition is fierce and there is the danger we could lose ground if our preparations are not right, as the Commission for Employment and Skills pointed out earlier in May.

"The education system needs to meet better the needs of business, and business needs to articulate better what it wants and how it can help. Investment in the current workforce will be just as important - employers see this but what many do not realise is that there is some help out there from the government through apprenticeships."

Caspar Bartington, education specialist at the CII, added: "Worryingly, only one in three employers in our sector is aware that professional qualifications can be part of the government-funded Apprenticeship Scheme. That said, numbers are growing across the country in companies of all sizes. The CII works closely with apprenticeship providers to explain to employers the very real benefits, financial or otherwise, of upskilling a workforce in these challenging times."