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Press Release

UK employers to focus on broadening staff skillsets to tackle labour shortage

February 9, 2022

WTW survey finds UK companies believe difficulties with hiring and keeping workers will continue in 2022
Ukupne nagrade

LONDON, UK, 9th February 2022 — A growing number of UK employers believe focusing on building a multi-skilled workforce will help address ongoing labour market challenges. That’s according to a new survey by WTW (Willis Towers Watson, NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

According to the WTW’s Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey, respondents indicated that the following ‘rising priorities’ will become increasingly important over the next three years, compared with the past three years:

  • Multi-skilling to enable employees to do tasks from different jobs (up 85% compared to the past three years)
  • Finding new sources of talent (up 36%)
  • Changing skills required to get work done (up 27%)
  • Changing employee preferences (up 26%)

Companies in virtually every industry are now under significant pressure to adapt to a new business environment and sweeping workforce changes.”

Hazel Rees | Work and Rewards Leader, WTW.

“Companies in virtually every industry are now under significant pressure to adapt to a new business environment and sweeping workforce changes,” said Hazel Rees, Work and Rewards Leader for Europe, WTW. “And there’s no greater challenge right now than hiring and retaining workers. Unfortunately, organisations do not expect the situation to improve this year, especially for critical-skill roles.”

Indeed, according to the survey, over half of UK respondents (58%) expect to have problems attracting employees this year. That compares with 39% that had difficulty in the first half of last year and is more than double the 17% in 2020. Similarly, three out of five respondents (60%) anticipate having difficulty keeping workers this year, up from 21% in the first half of last year and just 11% in 2020. Employers reported difficulties attracting and retaining employees across the workforce, but digital talent (69%), salaried employees (47%) and sales force positions (36%) are proving the most challenging in the UK.

The survey also identified growing pressure in five key areas driving workplace changes over the past three years. These include how employees work including flexibility (88%), heightened emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (74%), technology strategy (68%), data strategy (54%), and enhancing employee experience (54%).

According to the survey, more employers expect to make extensive changes in two strategic areas: optimizing work and job design (e.g., multi-skilling, remote work, technology, sourcing talent) and rethinking Total Rewards.

Work and Rewards Leader for Europe, WTW, Hazel Rees said, “For organisations this is not simply asking “how much should we pay?” but “how should we be rewarding our employees?” This includes an increased focus on non-financial rewards such as benefits, wellbeing, learning and development and career progression; as well as considering how pay programmes need to adapt to support the changes in the way work is done.

“Whether you view it as the Great Resignation, Reshuffle or Reprioritisation, organisations can take tangible actions to win the talent race. These include identifying new sources of talent, reskilling/upskilling, optimising job design, resetting their Total Rewards strategy and delivering a more robust career experience for employees,” said Rees.

About the survey

A total of 1,650 worldwide employers, including 74 from the United Kingdom, participated in the 2021 – 2022 Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey, which was conducted between 28 October and 10 December 2021. Respondents employ 11.9 million employees.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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