At the start of 2020, Dorset LEP reached out to Dorset’s employers to better understand their skills and workforce needs to identify any gaps that are challenging their ambitions to grow and innovate.
The results of the Dorset 2020 Employer Skills Survey are now available to download on the Dorset LEP website. Visitors to the website can also interact with an infographic dashboard which presents findings visually.
242 Dorset employers from a range of sectors responded to the survey, revealing that – before the coronavirus pandemic – over half (56%) were experiencing skills gaps within their existing workforce. Over a quarter of employers reported gaps in digital skills (27%), closely followed by skills gaps in sales and marketing (23%), complex analytical (17%) and leadership and management (15%). Employers also anticipated they would need more of these skill sets in the future due to digitalisation trends in their workplaces.
Aside from job-specific skills, the gaps in skills with the biggest impact on performance and productivity were technical and practical, leadership and managerial, and sales and marketing.
Data collection took place prior to the coronavirus pandemic, which is now having a significant impact on the economy and labour market. As the current coronavirus impact is felt globally, these results provide valuable insights on the skills needs and challenges specifically in Dorset and the questions on the links between skills and business resilience, productivity and readiness for the future, are calling for action, even more so in the current climate.
In response to the survey findings, Dorset LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel and Board is identifying strategic priorities for the county and developing a long-term skills plan, including calls for government funding, to support businesses and people in these challenging times.
Dorset LEP, and its business growth hub Dorset Gateway, are continually monitoring and advising on how businesses can retain and best utilise their workforce. The COVID-19 Business Impact Survey is still open for feedback from local businesses to provide Dorset LEP with information on Dorset’s business needs and to inform government recovery plans.
Dorset LEP thanks all employers who took part in the skills survey, and were pleased to announce Katie Stickley – a local entrepreneur and co-founder of DID teach, as the randomly selected prize draw winner. Katie, who runs a consultancy for teachers who are transitioning from education into other sectors, was awarded a tailored business consultancy session with Empiric Partners. After her consultancy session, Katie shared: “I am absolutely buzzing after my chat with Mike… I have lots of tasks to keep me busy now!”