CEOs of British firms have become increasingly concerned about the impact a skills shortage has had on their business, according to latest research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The research found that three quarters of the 1,300 CEOs surveyed saw a skills shortage to be the biggest threat to their business – representing a 10% increase from 2014 and a 46% increase from six years ago.

Searching for graduate talent in new places

However, CEOs from Japan and South Africa were found to be the most concerned, with more than nine out of ten of those surveyed saying a shortage in skills was a threat to their company’s growth prospects. These nations were closely followed by China (90%), Hong Kong (85%), the UK (84%) and Romania (84%).

In order to solve this shortage British CEOs are increasing their use of part time employees while also outsourcing and using service management in order to fill talent gaps. Moreover, they are also on the lookout for a wider mix of skills from the younger generation and are therefore scoping for talented graduates in different locations and industries.

This shift in recruitment and the desperate need for businesses to find talent has created a “gig economy” where skilled, talented workers can dictate where and when they work and ultimately who they work for.

Jon Andrews, the Leader of PwC’s Global People and Organisation Practice, commented that while more companies have greater hiring capacity, they are extremely challenged when it comes to finding the right talent.

“Businesses are faced with a complex and shifting world where technology is driving huge changes”, he added.

Andrews explained that businesses today are in desperate need of young, skilled graduates with strong technology skills “that are adaptable and can work across different industries”.

He added that due to these new needs organisations can no longer continue to hire employees via their previous recruitment methods, instead needing to look in new places for the best talent.

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