New research suggests that addressing skills gaps within the financial, professional and business services (FPBS) sector could boost its yearly output to levels 12% larger than those observed today, equivalent to £38bn annually by 2038, with much of these gains helping to support regional levelling-up across the UK.
The report, ‘Skills For Future Success’, from the Professional & Business Services Council and the Financial Services Skills Commission, found almost one-third of sector employers reporting skills shortages resulting in vacancies, with thousands of critical roles in areas like data and technology going unfilled.
Collectively, FPBS firms are a major employer – providing 5.5m jobs across the UK – and a major recruiter, hiring nearly 20% of all graduates entering the UK labour market each year. Despite perceptions of being London-centric, almost three quarters (73%) of jobs in the sector are located outside the capital.
The report finds that many regional firms face more acute skills challenges, especially SMEs that struggle to recruit highly skilled employees and lack strong collaborations between employers, local government, and education providers. On the other hand, trends show an increasing regional presence, with 43% of surveyed employers planning to increase their presence in strategic hubs across the UK.
New analysis from PwC and BEIS on the impact of automation highlights that FPBS will be impacted more than any other sector over the next 20 years. Some roles will disappear entirely and new ones will be created, but crucially almost all roles will change in some way.
Failure to act now to develop the skills needed for future roles risks the sector’s ability to innovate and drive economic growth.
The report calls for futureproofing action including supporting mid-career retraining, diversity & inclusion culture, and developing regional centres of specialisation.