It’s no secret that the UK is currently in the midst of a severe skills shortage, with the government’s most recent UK Employer Skills Survey revealing that 22% of all vacancies in 2015 were down to the country’s lack of skilled workers.
The skills shortage has put a strain on the UK economy, and the sectors that have been affected the most, such as manufacturing and construction, are in danger of falling well behind their global competitors. The upside for you is that, if you can build the skills that the UK labour market is crying out for, you can enjoy great wages and that kind of job security it’s extremely difficult to come across nowadays.
To help you turn the current UK skills shortage to your advantage, we’ve put together this article full of our top tips.
1. You don’t always have to follow your passion
In his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport claims that “follow your passion” is terrible career advice. Instead, he argues that the clearest path to success is to pick a skillset and develop it until you’re an indispensable asset in the marketplace. Do this properly and job satisfaction is sure to follow, as you’ll have a rare and valuable level of expertise that employers will be desperate to make part of their business.
Cal Newport says that if “follow your passion” was sound career advice, there’d be a lot more pop stars, footballers, and astronauts. Unsurprisingly, these industries aren’t the ones that have been affected by the nationwide skills shortage, and you’d be well advised to think about the long term when planning your next career move. Does a job search bring up any opportunities that would allow you to develop a valuable skillset in an often-overlooked industry? This could be the perfect chance to build a career that provides you with satisfaction throughout your working life.
2. Choose your sector wisely
If you’re looking for a job, you’re more likely to find one in the UK’s less glamourous industries. While people rarely dream of a career in logistics, IT, or accounting, this can work to your advantage — the less people going for the same job as you, the better chance you have of success.
Due to the UK’s skills shortage, you have even more reason to go for a role within one of these less popular industries, as several of them are desperate for talented employees who will help revitalise their sector. Take a look at The Telegraph’s list of the most in-demand jobs in the UK for ideas — if you think you have an aptitude for any of these roles, consider a career change for better chances of a high wage and job security.
3. Get qualified
Some of the UK’s most in-demand roles, such as accountancy and nursing, require you to be educated to degree level. If you want to benefit from the current skills shortage, you’ll therefore have to get qualified. Find the undergraduate course that will set you up for future career success on the UCAS site.
Alternatively, an apprenticeship can be the perfect way to get your foot in the door in industries that don’t require a degree. Emma Bowen is an apprentice move manager at Pickfords, and she said: “In my role as an apprentice, I get to earn while I build up the skillset that is hopefully going to lead to longstanding career success. I’m also put in charge of managing projects that I get to see through from start to finish, which has helped me gain the kind of experience it’s impossible to get in a classroom.”
If you think an apprenticeship is the best route into your chosen industry, you can find one at a business near you through the government’s find an apprenticeship tool.
So, there you have it: our guide to turning the current UK skills shortage to your advantage. Follow these tips and you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of success during this period of continued economic uncertainty.