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How employable is the UK?: Meeting the future skills challenge

The future economic wellbeing and global competitive position of the UK is dependent on ensuring the country has a suitably skilled workforce. Over the coming decades, as the forces of globalisation, digitalisation and automation reshape the labour market, the nature of work itself will change, creating demand for new skills. The future UK economy will require basic digital skills from all workers and place an increasing premium on higher level technical skills and employability skills such as flexibility, creativity and problem-solving (Stormer, 2014). At the same time, our ageing population means that people will be working for longer, with the government investing in partnership with businesses to support and retain older workers (DWP, 2017), and placing an increased emphasis on lifelong learning as one of the foundations of the UK Industrial Strategy (BEIS, 2017)., In order to ensure the population’s skills are able to meet the demands of a shifting market, we first need a clearer understanding of the scale and nature of the employability skills gap. This study addresses that gap, bringing together the perspectives of employers, educators and the working-age population to create a definitive picture of employability skill levels across the UK. The seven skills we considered were: resilience, proactivity, problem-solving, communication, creativity, leadership and adaptability. By consolidating the views of multiple stakeholders, our report provides an authoritative starting point for a discussion about how the country can move forward to meet the skills demands of the future.