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Invisible Skills Gap – One in Three Britons Don’t Know Any of the Occupations we Need


When presented with a list of occupational skills, 32% of Britons failed to identify a single occupation currently considered in-demand by the Government.

According to the study, conducted by Stormline, who supply wet weather gear to professionals in the engineering and science sectors, one in 10 people inccorectly believe we need more police officers, government officials or legal professionals.

A third identified teachers or social workers as in most demand. But while teachers and social workers are included on the Shortage Occupations list, they make up a relatively small fraction of the jobs on the list, which is dominated by engineering and health care.

The highest number of in-demand professions are in the STEM, health and medicine, waste management, design and arts industries.

skills gap


UK Skills Gap – Perceptions vs Reality

Skills people think we need Correct Incorrect Skills we need the most Percentage of highest demand occupations
Teaching 20%   Engineering 42%
Science 17%   Health (non consultant) 18%
Social work 13%   Health and science (teaching, consultant and research) 17%
Armed forces   12% Visual effects 7%
Nursing 11%   Waste management 6%
I.T 7%   Graphic design 6%
Local government   5% Contemporary dance 4%
Further education   4%    
Police   3%    
Health (consultants)   3%    
Logistics   2%    
Legal   2%    
Other   1%    


Perceptions of why we have a skills gap

When asked why we need to recruit from overseas to fill the skills gap, participants gave a variety of responses. Almost half believed the skills gap was due to hours or pay, 1 in 5 believed it to be linked to difficulty in qualifying, while 1 in 10 believed high danger levels or stress to be the cause.

The jobs are low paid 26%
The hours are very long 23%
It’s too difficult to qualify 18%
The jobs are boring 11%
The jobs are dangerous 6%
The jobs are stressful 4%
Other 12%

Regan McMilan, director of Stormline said:

“It’s surprising that so many people don’t know the industries which are crying out for skilled professionals.

“Engineering is perhaps the most high profile sector in this regard, but even so, it still appears to be a fairly low profile occupation generally. The Royal Academy of Engineering predicts we’ll need almost 2 million more engineers by 2022, so the industry could do with a profile boost now.

“There appears to be a myth that the most in-demand jobs are the ones nobody wants to do. That’s not true. Engineering, medicine, visual design and dance are all great occupations that are actually very competitive internationally.

“If people aren’t aware that we need dancers and designers as well as engineers and teachers, we’re missing a chance to attract people into these important areas of study.”


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Chris is a digital marketing and publishing whizz by trade, having worked alongside the Automotive, Information Security and Software Asset Management sectors.

Specialising in data analysis and social media, he combines an analytical approach with a creative flair to achieve the best results. With a keen interest in Technology and Politics, Chris is constantly on the look-out for the latest stories around change and innovation.

As a lover of all things innovative, he has developed a keen eye for spotting the latest trends and hot topics. He sources and reads the latest news and thought-leadership articles from the world of recruitment before sharing them with the social media population.

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