What challenges do employers need to overcome in 2016?

Employers have identified skills shortages and rising labour costs as the main challenges that they expect to face in 2016.

That is despite more job roles becoming available, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry/ Accenture Employment Trends Survey.

The annual survey, now in its 18th year, revealed that a shortage of skills is the main factor that limits the UK’s attractiveness as a place to do business – echoing the results of one year ago.

A lack of digital skills in particular could limit a firm’s potential to access new revenue streams, with having a digital business plan now seen as an essential for delivering long-term growth.

Two fifths of companies are expecting growth though, although rising labour costs and the introduction of a National Living Wage were cause for concern.

The companies questioned also suggest that a rising number of graduate roles and apprenticeships will be created in 2016.

CBI Director General Carolyn Fairburn said that the labour market is outperforming expectations with jobs being delivered all over the UK.

However, she warned that firms must manage costs effectively to ensure that growth is not hampered in the months ahead.

Ms Fairburn also said that the Government must be watchful to ensure that any potential rate changes or other new legislation does not have a negative impact on business growth.

More than half of businesses plan to give staff pay awards in 2016 although they indicated that the introduction of the national living wage may influence the amounts on offer.

Finding the best staff, and retaining them, are two key challenges for 2016 and 29% of companies said they would suffer if they were unable to hire the right person for a role.

However, pay awards and other similar perks provide the sort of incentives that individuals seek when considering their position in employment and should help as far as retainment is concerned.

Overcoming these challenges will be an important part of any strategy for 2016, although businesses can be buoyed by an ever strengthening economic situation.

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