talentThe Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) has found that almost a fifth of UK employers expect their 2013 growth plans to be reduced due to a lack of skills.

The report showed that 38% of UK firms are struggling to recruit the right talent, with around three quarters of those identifying a lack of technical skills as the biggest problem.

Its research found that this shortage of skills could hit expansion plans for 18% of respondents.

According to the study, two fifths of UK employers claim that low numbers of applicants is also a concern in regards to hiring staff, while 55% cite a lack of work experience as an issue and 40% note that a lack of qualifications creates problems when they are considering potential employees.

Scott Barnes, Chief Executive of Grant Thornton, said:

“While the number of people employed in the UK hit a record level in 2012, businesses are still finding it hard to recruit for roles requiring technical skills.

“Investment in internal training programmes, aligned closely to business need, is needed to broaden these talent pools. By developing their people, companies will be able to deliver on strategy, innovation and, ultimately, growth.”

In addition to this, the report suggested that employee retention is another problem for UK businesses, as 19% of organisations surveyed believe that staff retention issues have contributed to a loss of business or orders to competitors.

Furthermore, 28% said it increased operating costs and 40% believe it led to an inflated workload for remaining staff.

The report based its findings on interviews with 6,400 Chief Executives, Managing Directors, Chairmen and Senior Executives from across section of UK industries between August and December 2012.