Skills shortage a bigger issue than Brexit say CI firms

Research carried out by accountancy firm Moore Stephens has found that half of owner-managed businesses (OMBs) in the Channel Islands consider a shortage of skilled staff as a key concern, compared to 41% of businesses in the United Kingdom.

Moore Stephens’ 2018 Owner Managed Business report was published this month and found that similar concerns were voiced by businesses in the Channel Islands and the UK, the respondents differed as to what their bigger concerns were. In the UK, the main worry for owner-managed businesses was Brexit, but in the Channel Islands the availability of skilled workers was their priority topic.

Phillip Callow, Managing Director at Moore Stephens Audit & Assurance, said: “The focus of CI businesses on skills could be down to it being more challenging for the Channel Islands to bring skilled professionals to the islands or to train our own. Of course, this situation could also become even more difficult post-Brexit.”

Despite 60% of UK and Channel Island OMBs being confident in the general outlook for 2018, a high number (78% in UK and 75% in Channel Islands) were concerned about the strength of the UK economy in 2018.

“Our report shows confidence is lacking around the stability of the UK economy, which in itself brings uncertainty,” said Mr Callow. “OMBs need certainty to be able to develop their business and will be hit harder if the economy suffers once the UK leaves the European Union.

“This uncertainty could be the reason why only 20% of Channel Island OMBs are planning to invest in new technology or IT systems. This shows that issues surrounding Brexit and business are not isolated; they have knock-on effects.

“These figures give a voice to smaller businesses that might not otherwise be heard – if we would like to continue to support our economy we should support Channel Island owner-managed businesses to alleviate the shortages in skilled staff as this is clearly more of a concern than Brexit.”

Click here to read the full report.