7 groups who could fill the skills gap in your business

7 groups who could fill the skills gap in your business

It may not come as a huge surprise to you that many industries in the UK are facing a skills gap. Whether it’s in the building industry, or something more high-tech, a shortage of skilled workers is causing inefficiencies in lots of industries and for individual companies. Without skilled workers, your company may not be able to grow or even operate on a daily basis.

With Brexit looming, the skills gap, particularly in the trades, isn’t going to close up quickly. There’s a good chance that some EU workers will return home once the UK leaves the EU, and others won’t be rushing in to take their places half as fast as they have in the past few years. The effects of this won’t be limited to fruit picking and waiting in coffee shops; the NHS, education, and financial services will all likely suffer, albeit in the short run.  

Do you have skills gap issues?

Within your business, there may be vacancies which are becoming increasingly harder to fill. If you’re happy that you’re advertising in all the right places, setting the salary at a good level, and have competitive working conditions, then maybe you need to cast your net wider to increase the size of your recruitment pool.

Casting your net wider could mean considering hiring people who you would avoid otherwise, either unintentionally or by design. If you’re finding that people who work for your company all seem to fit a similar profile in terms of gender, age, race, and attitude, then you may have a diversity issue which is causing you harm. This issue could come from the way the job is being presented, from bias within the hiring team, or the way your company is perceived by certain groups.

For some groups, you may have to make changes to the way you work to get people with the right skills on board. But be ruthless about it – think about what skills you really need, rather than what you think the ideal candidate should look like. You may turn up a gem who was not previously on your radar!

Have you considered hiring people from any of these traditionally under-represented groups?


There are still a lot of businesses out there which have a disproportionately low number of female workers. Depending on what you do, this could make sense but where gender doesn’t matter to whether someone can do the job (and in most cases, this is true), it could be a good strategy to try and encourage more women to consider working for your company.

Here’s what you can do to improve gender equality in your workplace

It may be that you need to promote your company as a more female-friendly place to work. You may need to consider that women still do tend to be their childrens’ primary carer and that flexible or part-time working could be a good idea. It may be that you need to change your team’s attitude towards women in the workplace.

Whatever you do, try, because there are many very well-qualified women out there who are under-employed.


This option might not appeal too much if you do something that requires high-security but looking to ex-offenders could be a great option. There are around 70,000 people released from prison annually, and more who are in the wider justice system and many will be looking for employment. With support, an ex-offender can be an excellent employee. In fact, they could turn out to be the most committed and loyal employee you will ever have.

Read this article about why some companies actively hire ex-offenders

Filling the skills gap in your organisation

Over 50s

Often overlooked, older people can be a fantastic asset to your company. Not only are they full of valuable experience, they can also be extremely loyal. Many in their 50s and 60s are now on the road to retirement and can be happy giving their time and skills to an employer who can accommodate their occasional need; they’re a far cry from the stereotypical job-hopping millennial!

Over 50s could be a good option for helping train up your younger employees and provide a guiding light to those who could benefit from their wisdom. You may even get a grant to help support employment of an older person.

There are many benefits to hiring older workers!

For more information on employing older workers, check out https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/142751/employing-older-workers.pdf


Just because you don’t have a business which isn’t traditionally staffed by students, it doesn’t mean you can’t hire them, especially if the job can be made to fit around a college or university schedule.

Many students have some amazing skills and appreciate being given something to do that’s more challenging and probably better paid than pulling pints in the union bar. If you’re struggling to recruit people with extremely up-to­-date skills, then students might be your best option regardless.

Talk to your local university union’s job exchange to see if your vacancy can be opened up to a local student and help you fill that skills gap.

Disabled people

With a few adaptations to your workplace (or not depending on the disability) a disabled person could be the best person for the job. You may need to accommodate by giving time off for hospital appointments or similar, but there’s no reason otherwise why a disabled person can’t do the same job as a non-disabled person in plenty of lines of work.

Think about what you need your new employee to actually do on a day-to-day basis rather than focussing on what particular candidates can’t do.

Get more information on employing disabled people and those with health conditions at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employing-disabled-people-and-people-with-health-conditions/employing-disabled-people-and-people-with-health-conditions

Ex-servicemen and women

People coming out of the armed forces are not as used to civilians at job-hunting. Whilst some ex-service personnel find the transition to civvy life a breeze, some do need a little support. The MoD’s Career Transition Partnership connects service men and women to employers looking to employ talented and skilled individuals.

Ex-service personnel can be more self-disciplined, harder working, and better skilled than their civvy-street counterparts. For specific industries such as aerospace and transport, logistics, or catering, ex-servicemen and women can have far better than average skills. If you think that your business could benefit from some of this talent, then contact the CTP and see how they can help. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruitment-for-ex-services-personnel

Hiring ex service people


If you’re still struggling to find the right people with the right skills then you can always fill the skills gap by creeating your own skilled workers! There are many providers out there which can help you have your very own apprentice who you can mould to your company’s needs.

One reason the skills gap is widening is because businesses are too busy trying to recruit the right people rather than upskilling their own workforces or supporting a trainee. For many growing businesses in emerging industries, training younger people is the only way they get skilled staff on board.

For more information check out – employing an apprentice


Want to do a skills gap analysis? Try here https://resources.workable.com/tutorial/skills-gap-analysis


For information about our business cost reduction consultancy, please get in touch

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