Tool will help business leaders with scenario planning, says industry skills body

Energy and Utility (E&U) Skills plans to unveil a new “dashboard” to help business understand and plan for the risks that Brexit may pose to the resilience and sustainability of their workforces, Utility Week has learned.

E&U Skills chief executive Nick Ellins said there is rising concern about the risks that Brexit may pose to companies’ ability to access talent and recruit the numbers of people needed to deliver planned investments in infrastructure and services.

“You read about it all over the national media,” said Ellins. “This it’s being talked about for automotive, rail – all sorts of industries. But for a business leader trying to understand what that risk really looks like, there’s not much help available.”

E&U Skills’ planned Brexit dashboard will help utilities leaders “see specific scenarios which they can use to make provision for risks that are likely to come their way,” Ellins explained.

The tool will collate a wide set of data on the UK labour market and industry specific workforce demographics, aligning this information with possible post-Brexit scenarios.

Ellins emphasized that, the impact of Brexit on industry recruitment and talent challenges is something utilities “need to pay attention to”.

E&U Skills has actively highlighted the fact that 221,000 new employees will need to be recruited by utilities by 2027 in order to replace individuals who are set to retire or who will leave the sector through expected job churn.

At the same time, the organisation warns that 36 per cent of current vacancies in the sector are classed as “hard to fill” due to skills shortages – the UK average is 26 per cent – and with unemployment levels at an all time high, Ellins says competition to attract skilled individuals is set to become increasingly fierce.

Piling pressure on top of this situation, Ellins said data from the Office for National Statistics shows Brexit is already causing further shrinkage to the UK talent pool.

“The number EU nationals working in the UK has fallen, the number of EU nationals arriving in the UK and seeking work has fallen and the number of EU nationals emigrating has gone up. In the same time -since the Brexit vote] that cost of labour has risen.”

Ellins concluded: “We want to show figures that give clear understanding ‘as a businessman I cannot ignore these trends’.”

In February, Energy and Utility Skills launched the utilities sector’s first strategy for skills and workforce renewal. Read about why the strategy was needed here.

In September, Nick Ellins will deliver a keynote presentation at Utility Week’s HR Forum. Read more about the event here.

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