Business leaders are calling for government to prioritise initiatives that help foster a skilled workforce, as more than half of CEOs around the world (58%) say a lack of key skills is hampering their growth prospects.
A global PwC survey of over 1,300 CEOs reveals that business leaders see the availability of key skills as the second biggest threat to their business growth, just after the increasing tax burden (63%). CEOs in Africa (82%), the Middle East (69%) and Asia-Pacific (64%) are the most concerned about the lack of key skills.
The research shows businesses are looking to government to help them plug this skills gap. More than half of CEOs (57%) said that creating and encouraging a skilled workforce should be the government’s highest priority for business for the year ahead.
This is an area where government could do much better, according to the CEOs surveyed. Only 15% believe their government has been effective in creating a skilled workforce up to now.
Tackling the talent challenge is also an area on which CEOs plan to focus, with 61% planning to increase investment in their workforce over the next three years.
The research reveals that mining, energy, and engineering and construction companies report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.
“Businesses are struggling with a widening mismatch between the skills of their workforce and the skills they need to achieve strong growth," says Michael Rendell,
Global Head of PwC’s Human Resource Services. "There needs to be a joint approach to addressing the problem, with businesses and governments working together to plug the skills gap."
Rendell notes that at a time when growth is top of all businesses’ agendas, investment in employee training and development should be a key priority for CEOs for the year ahead.
The research reveals businesses are planning to hire this year, with more businesses planning to increase their headcount (45%) than make cuts (23%). 28% of CEOs expect their headcount to remain relatively static.