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Skills top list of investment priorities for boardrooms

26 June 2014 by Alexandra Jones

People and skills top the list of investment priorities for boardrooms across the UK after years of under-spend during the recession, according to the latest survey from KPMG.

The annual Business Instincts Survey, a poll of 498 C-level executives from businesses across the UK, found that many executives believe under-investment has left their company with a skills deficit. 


This lack of suitable candidates is ranked as second only to achieving profitable growth in a list of the biggest business headaches faced last year.  


More than half (58 percent) of the businesses surveyed said that they were planning to increase their workforce over the next 12 months.  However, as attracting skilled staff is the top ‘people challenge’ concerning the boardroom, one third said they are likely to keep workforce levels unchanged.


According to the findings, companies across the UK need to look after, reward and develop existing staff too. Many employees will have stuck with their current organisation through the recession with static pay and perhaps a rising workload. With the economy improving, the survey suggests that retaining the best staff and being able to offer appropriate rewards are two of the biggest problems facing HR departments.


Commenting on the findings, Robert Bolton, co-lead of KPMG’s Global HR Centre of Excellence, said: ‘The war for talent is back – but it needs to be fought in a different way now.  No longer can companies rely on rewarding high performers or tempting people to join with the promise of long-term financial incentives.  With older staff needing, or wanting, to work past the traditional retirement age and more young people coming into the workforce, there could be four generations of people in a company at any one time.  It means that the challenges of achieving a diverse workplace and supporting a variety of flexible working needs are forming the new battlefront.’

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