Almost 70% of Northern Irish businesses suffering a 'skills shortage'

Almost 70% of Northern Ireland businesses believe there is a skills shortage in their organisation, according to research from the Open University.

That figure is the highest of any part of the UK.

The Open University's Business Barometer report has revealed a lack of entry level and specialist talent.

Over half of local business say that the Covid pandemic has made it harder to hire candidates with the right skills.

Around 43% of businesses have resorted to training to boost employees skills to fill gaps, whilst 47% of have left positions vacant because of a lack of suitable challenges.

In particular, companies have said that they are struggling to recruit for more senior posts such as senior manager positions.

That skills shortage is impacting companies severely, with 62% of local businesses saying that the shortage will significantly impact their growth potential.

However, it is not just Covid which has affected skills - 48% of respondents said that Brexit will have the biggest impact on skills within the next 12 months.

Despite these concerns, 68% of Northern Irish businesses are optimistic about their organisation's recovery in the next 12 months.

However, almost half of businesses have said that finding staff with the right skills is the biggest challenge facing them in the next five years.