02.06.09

Britain's Unused Talent

A new survey shows that two-thirds of the UK’s most highly-trained and experienced people are not using their specialist skills at work.

A new survey shows that two thirds of the UK’s most highly-trained and experienced people are not using their specialist skills at work.

The findings are part of a survey carried out by the research-led consultancy Oxford Intelligence. It found that despite the economic downturn and concerns over skill losses due to the recession, demand is still high for workers with many specific skills.

What is claimed to be the first-ever, large scale survey of the available skilled workforce across 8 ‘hard-to-find‘ skill sets* in 10 key countries - shows the UK has Europe’s most skilled workforce. But, paradoxically, it has a very high proportion of trained workers not using valuable skills. Sectors affected span IT, financial services, food sciences, life sciences, nanotechnology, environmental and renewable energy and advanced engineering.

The UK is under-utilising its skilled workers to a higher degree than other nations. According to the report, Britain has 3.2 million fluent language speakers, of which only 31% are currently using their languages at work. 2.6 million people have advanced engineering skills in the UK, yet only 42% use these skills, leaving a significant resource of 1.5 million.

Recommendations from Oxford Intelligence for remedial action include initiatives and research into demographic factors, employer flexibility, commuting patterns, gender divide and links to academic achievement.

* The skill sets covered were: Foreign languages; Advanced engineering; Environmental and renewable energy technologies; Financial services; Food science and technology; Life sciences and healthcare technologies; Nanotechnology and Technical IT skills.

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