Skills shortages could affect Welsh economy

Press Releases

30 Apr 2013

Employment in Wales is predicted to increase by 71,000 jobs between 2010 and 2020, according to the latest National Strategic Skills Audit for Wales 2012 (NSSAW). The skills audit highlights the roles and sectors that are increasingly important to the future of the Welsh economy and also identifies areas where a shortage of skills could delay economic recovery. It was prepared jointly by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and the Institute for Employment Research for the Welsh Government.

Retail and caring and personal service are likely to be of future economic significance in terms of productivity levels and employment growth, and to experience high volumes of demand in Wales.

The country will also likely see growing demand for higher-level occupations in the period to 2020 which it would not be able to fill based on current supply levels, such as senior managers in corporate roles, and teaching and education professionals. These skills deficits are of critical importance to the economy and require immediate action to optimise fully the economic growth potential and avoid future shortages.

Dr Annette Cox, Associate Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, comments:

‘Our study has identified that corporate managerial roles are forecast to experience the greatest overall expansion in demand. The number of corporate managers is expected to increase by 12,000 by 2020, rising to 39,000 when we include the need to replace managers who leave the labour market, for example through retirement. This need is critical to both a wide range of industries and the overall economy of Wales.

‘While the Welsh economy is distinctive, with manufacturing being important in the North and South East, agricultural activity concentrated in mid-Wales and higher-level occupations and financial service firms being concentrated in East Wales, there will be demand for corporate managerial roles across the country in a variety of sectors.’

There is a need to improve management capability to exploit technology and optimise business benefits across a range of sectors, including those with large forecast growth potential: retail, caring and personal service, professional services, food, drink and tobacco and media and agriculture.

Dr Cox adds:

‘There is the opportunity for organisations to move higher up the value chain by developing the skills of their workforce, both through on-the-job development and formal training. This is critical to the economy as it will increase the competitiveness of the businesses and exploit new market opportunities.

‘This has implications for training providers as latent demand for training exists, especially in sales and caring and personal service occupations. Caring and personal service is expected to need 50,000 workers - with 11,000 of these roles arising due to an expansion in demand - and this is one of the occupations with the biggest skills shortages.’

  • A full copy of the National Strategic Skills Audit for Wales 2012 can be downloaded here.


Notes to editors

About IES

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK's leading independent centre for research and evidence-based consultancy in employment, labour market and human resource policy and practice. It is apolitical and not-for-profit, its activities being funded through research and consultancy commissions, and from its corporate membership programme. The Institute aims to improve employment policy in the UK and internationally by carrying out authoritative research of practical relevance to policy makers and those responsible for implementing policy programmes and initiatives.