Gateway to Growth: what employers need from education and skills

Half of employers are concerned about potential weaknesses in their employees'  numeracy skills

The economy is shifting and demand for higher skilled employees is increasing. Employers belonging to the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) are convinced that one of the biggest issues facing the economy is making sure that the education and training system is adequately preparing their future employees for work. 

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) agenda is particularly important for the UK's ability to sustain innovative, high-value and high-growth sectors. It covers both careers that require a university degree and those that are attainable through an apprenticeship route. Yet it is increasingly difficult to recruit people with the right skills in these essential careers. Consequently 50% of CBI business leaders believe it is paramount that the government ensures there are enough specialist maths & science teachers in schools to adequately equip students with enthusiasm and knowledge of STEM subjects.  

More generally, employers are aware that they will need more high-skilled employees in the future. While they believe the vast majority of their workers can perform to a satisfactory level, just over half (53%) are aware that some employees have weaker numeracy skills.  Concern about employees’ numeracy skills is particularly notable in the service sectors (i.e. retail, hospitality, transport and distribution) where 68% of businesses are aware of a skills gap.

Gateway to Growth: CBI/Pearsons Education and Skills survey 2014. Confederation of Business and Industry.