The Hiring Hub recently published data highlighting that the employment rate is slowly increasing each year. In 2012, 29.48 million people were employed in the UK, in 2013 this increased to 29.95 million. So why are 2.5 million in the UK still unemployed and why does this amount only decrease at a sluggish pace?
One key force constantly affecting the unemployment rate is structural unemployment. This occurs when there is a mismatch between workers skills and the skills employers are seeking. Structural unemployment is continuous and unavoidable as the economy grows, adapts and industries become more efficient.
Structurally unemployed people usually have specialist skills that are not needed or are unable to be utilised in the current market. It is difficult for experienced workers to learn a new skill set or move to an area where their skills are still in demand. This makes finding a new job much harder for them and consequently increases the long-term unemployment rate.
Growing technology, new competitors and the introduction of more efficient processes are all key causes. For example, many manufacturing jobs have now migrated from the UK to countries that can carry out the same tasks but at a much lower cost. Likewise, numerous agricultural workers are currently unemployed due to the introduction of new machinery.
So what can be done to solve the skills gap and decrease the unemployment rate?
As a nation:
As an individual:
So what does the future hold?
The growing skills gap has started to be addressed with new employer-led studio schools set to open across the UK in 2014, they provide real work based learning and training with leading employers from a variety of industries. Their aim is to break the traditional pathway that the current education system provides and supply students with the essential skills required for the future economy.