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Coronavirus lockdown puts focus on UK skills gap

29 Jun 2020

The COVID-19 lockdown has served to highlight the widening UK skills gap and the government must now act, warns the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

CIMA has called on the government to look beyond the short-term and focus on future investments in skills.

It also warned that workers in the service industries hit hardest by the lockdown restrictions will be vulnerable despite the government's support packages.

CIMA said that while the government must tackle immediate issues such as restoring jobs and increasing consumer spending, it must also put great emphasis on creating long-term recovery including boosting social mobility.

CIMA believes investing in education and skills development in sectors such as digital technology,

education technology, healthcare, financial services, engineering and construction.

Prior to the pandemic, a 2019 report by the Industrial Strategy Council already estimated that 20% of the workforce will be significantly under-skilled for their jobs by 2030.

Andrew Harding, Chief Executive at Management Accounting, said: 'By creating rapid and profound shifts in our economy and the labour market, the pandemic has exacerbated some of the UK's prevailing issues such as faltering productivity, widening skills gap and failing social mobility.

'A new, post-lockdown reality is now sinking in, we must not fall into the trap of believing in a return to business as usual.

'If we are to get the economy back on its feet, remain competitive on the global scene and sustain growth, we must now foster both capital investment in business and invest wisely into developing a skilled, motivated workforce. That provides the opportunity to advance social mobility through creating quality jobs and real wage growth.'

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Registered in England, Company Registration number – 7906656. Registered Office – 58b High Street, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, MK11 1AQ. Registered with the Chartered Institute of Taxation as a firm of Chartered Tax Advisers. Registered to carry out audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.