How Career Changers Can Help Solve The Skills Shortage UK

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated April 10, 2024

More than one-third (36%) of UK businesses are suffering from skills shortage vacancies. This is up from 22% in 2017, showing that the skills shortage UK is becoming a greater issue.

But, there’s a sustainable and logical solution to this growing problem that the majority of employers aren’t taking advantage of career changers. According to a study by KPMG, a staggering 40% of UK workers are considering making a career change due to the rising cost of living. That’s an increase of 5% since 2022.

So, with so many professionals looking to make a career transition, why not capitalise on this to bridge the skills gap? Apart from the expertise and experience they can offer your business, they also bring with them a host of transferable skills that are hard to come by in today’s labour market.

In this blog, we’ll look at the skills shortage UK statistics in more detail and share valuable insights into how career changers can be utilised to help solve the growing skills shortage issue. 

The Skills Shortage UK

The most recent figures from the Employer Skills Survey 2022 (ESS 2022) are evidence that we’re still very much in the midst of a skills shortage in the UK. Since the previous survey in 2017, all of the data shows a worrying trend in the wrong direction. 

The headline statistics are as follows:

Percentage of establishments with at least one skill-shortage vacancy is up 4%

  • 6% in 2017
  • 10% in 2022

Skill-shortage vacancy density is up 14% (SSVs as a share of vacancies)

  • 22% in 2017
  • 36% in 2022

Skill gap density is up 1.3% (the proportion of employees judged not fully proficient)

  • 4.4% in 2017
  • 5.7% in 2022

Percentage of establishments providing training for staff over the past 12 months is down 6%

  • 66% in 2017
  • 60% in 2022

The tech sector is the most hard-hit by the skills shortage. A recent Forbes survey showed that 93% of UK businesses are experiencing an IT skills shortage. And, while a large proportion of this may be due to the rapid advancement of technology, there is an opportunity here for employers to leverage career changers.

Strategies for Employers

The good news for employers is that career changers are excellent candidates for bridging the skills gap. They possess valuable transferable skills, such as problem-solving, multi-tasking, project management and communication that many graduate candidates won’t yet possess.

By focusing more on these transferable skills rather than technical skills during the recruitment process, employers can identify suitable candidates who they can later retrain and upskill for the specific role.

Here are some key strategies to bridge the skills gap with career changers:

Identify transferable skillsets 

When scanning CVs for potential candidates, look beyond technical skills and use your interview process to delve deeper into each candidate’s transferable skills. The questions you ask should aim to uncover a candidate’s ability to learn, adapt, and apply past experiences to new situations. After all, a quick learner who can use their experience to easily adapt is pretty much the ideal employee, right?

For instance, a candidate with a background in project management should be able to demonstrate their ability to organise, prioritise, and manage resources effectively. All of these are transferable to a range of other roles, including marketing manager, business analyst, operations manager, and many more.

Learn more about How to Evaluate Career Changers’ Transferable Skills 👉

Invest in training and development

As we have seen from the numbers, a decrease in training has led to an increase in the skills shortage. As such, the only way to overcome the skills shortage is to invest in continuous training, upskilling, and knowledge sharing. 

This starts by creating a continuous learning culture in your business. Creating opportunities for learning and development will allow career change candidates to develop the skills they need on the job. 

While training can be expensive for employers, the results are worth it. Not only will you enjoy better performance and business results, but your employees will be more engaged. Considering the high cost of staff turnover, this could save you a substantial amount of time, money, and resources. 

Learn more about Providing Training Programmes 👉 

Explore alternative recruitment processes

Another way to tap into the pool of professional career changers is by expanding your reach during recruitment. Look into partnering with bootcamps and certification providers to gain access to freshly trained candidates eager to put their knowledge into practice in their new careers.

Job boards specialising in career changers are the perfect place to advertise your available positions. Refreshing a Career attracts individuals who are actively looking to make a career change, sharing valuable advice and guidance for job seekers.

Are you currently hiring? Here are just some of the services we offer here at Refreshing a Career:

There are so many benefits to hiring career changers and bridging the skills shortage UK is just one of them. By widening your search criteria to include candidates who are making a career transition, your business will soon begin to reap the rewards.

For more information, give us a call at 0345 872 4501 or send an email to

Share This Story

Last Updated: Wednesday April 3 2024
Go to Top