11 May 2021, London – The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s largest body of management accountants, welcomes the UK’s government renewed commitment to delivering a post-COVID skills revolution, and transform the country’s skills system for the better. However, CIMA believes that greater emphasis must be put on changing employees’ mindsets when it comes to addressing some of the systemic issues exacerbated by the pandemic such as the UK’s faltering productivity, widening skills gap and failing social mobility.
Worryingly, CIMA’s 2020 Mind the Skills Gap research published in December last year, revealed that 84% of UK SME employees surveyed were not currently undertaking skills training or professional development, In addition, only 3 in 10 (31%) SME workers said they had undertaken skills training and professional development in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic forcing many companies to reimagine how they do business.
Concurrently, 65% of UK SME business leaders said that they have identified skills gaps within their organisation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 90% stating that these skills gaps are significant enough to hamper their organisation’s future growth and success.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, said:
“Over the past three years, our Mind the Skills Gap research has consistently showed that UK workers are failing to prioritise professional learning and development. There’s an apathy towards learning new skills, and more worryingly, a lack of motivation to learn digital skills. The digital skills divide is widening year-on-year, and the acute disruption brought on by COVID-19 put this issue into sharp focus.
“Digital and higher-level skills will drive real-wage growth, underpin future growth across the UK’s economy, and are vital to ensure our global competitiveness and productivity. Focusing on lower level skills alone won’t achieve the levelling up and skills improvements the government hopes to deliver.
“To be successful in both the post-Brexit and COVID-19 world, we can’t solely focus on changing policies, we must develop a culture of learning and innovation and embrace change – or risk being left behind.”
CIMA is calling on the UK Government to:
- Make a new push on digital skills to make the UK post-pandemic ready;
- Expand the Apprenticeship Levy to become an “Apprenticeship and Skills Levy” to ensure businesses have the talent they need now and in the future;
- Continue to invest towards higher level apprenticeships to raise the skill levels of the UK workforce;
- Introduce a “Rebuttable right to retrain” to empower workers to request further training and development;
- Create and invest in skills clusters across the UK and look at models such as development corporations to help drive both public and private investment into left-behind regions.
Read CIMA’s Budgeting for recovery and a long-term economic future for the UK to find out more.