John Roddy, Tackling skills shortage whilst staying competitive in the global market

John Roddy Chief Executive of The Shield Group
John Roddy Chief Executive of The Shield Group

In his latest blog for, John Roddy, Chief Executive for The Shield Group, discusses how businesses can tackle the growing skills shortage whilst staying competitive in the global market. John Writes: ” As one of the fastest growing industries, the security sector is playing an increasingly vital part in the UK’s economic recovery. However, intensified competition from Europe and the fast emerging Asian economies has meant that more than ever Britain’s workforce needs to have the right level of skills, competencies and abilities in order to stay competitive in the global market and sustain their economic strength.

“Currently there are serious concerns over the skills shortage in a growing number of sectors, particularly in the security industry. This was reflected in a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), which found that around 22 per cent of job vacancies in England are ‘skills shortage vacancies’. In other words, more than one out of every five roles is not being filled because there are not enough qualified professionals. That figure has almost doubled since 2009, even though the overall number of job vacancies has risen by 45 per cent and is back to pre-recession levels. The flip side of the UK’s economic recovery has been that we are unable churn out enough qualified professionals to meet employers’ increasing demand for them.

“As the skills shortage has intensified, some companies have responded by offering a range of management development and training programmes. This has helped these businesses remain competitive through both reviving their current workforces and attracting new employees for better long-term professional prospects. Businesses have flourished as they strive to retain the people and resources that are differentiating them in the market and providing competitive advantage.

“However, some companies object to management training not only because of the cost but also because of the loss of production hours from the time employees would spend in such programmes. But investing into leadership and management can be justified as they are the major driving forces of any company. Such schemes also bring benefits such as enhanced communication, better teamwork and new problem solving skills.

“One of the key advantages is that training can directly impact company morale as managers often feel more secure in a position where money is being spent on personal growth and development. Employers would also improve their relationship with more junior employees as it would send the right signals, making them feel valued and trusted. In addition, respected and well-trained managers boost morale, whilst studies have also shown that improved morale boosts staff retention.

“Senior staff development schemes also help a company cope better with internal changes. Management are in an ideal position to help the company develop and implement new strategies with the least amount of productivity interruption; they are close to their staff and therefore better able to convey the need for change to team members. Knowing what to expect and why can have a huge impact on the success of such measures. Additionally, the skills and knowledge of managers tend to trickle down through the rest of the workforce; high level training schemes would result in more all-around productivity and innovation throughout the team.

“The Shield Group made the decision some years ago to develop a state-of-the-art management development programme. Last year we invested over £1m in a new Management Development Centre, which offers a wide range of qualifications and courses. The success of our approach, which includes providing higher-than-industry-standard benefits and support, has been proven by our ability to maintain an exceptional annual staff retention rate of over 90%.

“It is great to see more businesses want to recruit as the economy improves. But with jobseekers outnumbering vacancies by four to one, it is frustrating that across the UK a large number of jobs are unfilled because of a growing skills shortage. Employers must play their part in tackling the UK’s damaging skills shortages and ensure a more prosperous future for all of us. The security industry must also play its part to ensure that our workforce and management are prepared for the inevitable demands in the future. This is especially in regards to managing personnel and improving knowledge and capability, as more technical solutions interact with our tailored customer solutions.”

The Shield Group Website

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