The Great Debate UK

Skills shortage could hamper economic recovery


andy-powell- Andy Powell is the CEO of Edge, an independent education foundation dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning. Edge is leading the education and business communities in the second annual celebration of vocational qualifications, VQ Day (Vocational Qualifications Day), on 24 June 2009. The opinions expressed are his own. -

It’s a challenging time to be running a small or medium enterprise (SME). Despite talk of “green shoots” the unemployment figures out today paint a fairly dim picture, with the prospect of a worsening scenario in September and tough prospects for graduates and school leavers this summer.

We are in one of the most turbulent economic and political periods of recent times and to emerge from the downturn we are going to need people full of creativity, innovation and talent. Yet research released today by education foundation Edge reveals that three-quarters of SME bosses feel there is a mis-match between young people’s skills and the requirements of their organisation.

This research is reinforced by the Confederation of British Industry, which this week reported a skills shortage in London that could hamper economic recovery. The research stated that the hardest hit sectors were transport, energy/manufacturing/construction and hospitality/leisure/retail. With rising unemployment figures, why do we still have skills shortages in industries that are key to us emerging from the downturn?

What managers can do to maintain morale in a jobs crisis


* Ian Kessler is a reader in employment relations at Said Business School at the University of Oxford. The views expressed are his own *

ian-kesslerThe Chinese define a crisis as ‘an opportunity on a dangerous wind’, and the crisis created by the current economic downturn has certainly placed the management of human resources centre stage. Corporate survival has become dependent on controlling and reducing labour costs, while future organisational viability has necessitated restructuring, placing further strains on the workforce. The challenge confronting human resources management is reflected in the predicted scale of job losses: the International Labour Organisations suggests that in 2009 as many 51 million jobs worldwide could be lost.

from The Great Debate:

An equal opportunity recession?


Jim CarrJames H. Carr is chief operating officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington-based association that promote access to basic banking services for America’s working families. He is a member of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development’s “Experts of Color Clearinghouse”. The views expressed are his own.

The U.S. economy is unraveling at a pace not seen in decades. The more than 650,000 jobs lost last month has contributed to a growing concern that the unemployment rate could rise to 10 percent or higher before the economy rebounds. At the center of the economy’s instability is a foreclosure crisis that has claimed 3.5 million homes in the last year alone, and threatens the loss of an additional 8 to 10 million homes to foreclosure over the next five years.

from The Great Debate:

Rising unemployment gravest threat to U.S. and UK


John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Rising unemployment is the now the largest single threat to attempts to stabilize the banking system through recapitalization and assets swaps designed to remove toxic assets from bank balance sheets.

It is also the main impediment to restarting bank lending, renewing output growth and preventing debt-deflation becoming entrenched.

Tough year ahead for UK plc – but longer term future sound


Peter Hemington is a Corporate Finance Partner at BDO Stoy Hayward. The views expressed are his own.

peterhemingtonbdo-stoy-haywardOver the past few weeks several business surveys, including our own BDO Business Trends report, have painted a very gloomy picture of the UK economy. Short and medium term business confidence continues to plummet as the credit crunch takes its toll on unemployment figures, the housing market, the ability or desire that banks have to lend and consumer spending.