Skills used in British workplaces still rising

May 24, 2007

Skills being used in British workplaces have been rising for the last two decades, but the pace of change has slowed in the last five years, according to a new study published today by the ESRC Research Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE).

The report, "Skills At Work, 1986 to 2006", written by Professor Alan Felstead (Cardiff University), Professor Duncan Gallie and Dr. Ying Zhou (Oxford University) and Professor Francis Green (Kent University), gives the first findings from the 2006 Skills Survey, a nationally representative survey of 4,800 working individuals in Britain aged 20-65, and similar surveys carried out over the last two decades. The surveys collected a wealth of information about the skills utilised at work, and about workers' views on training and work, and about their pay and well-being.

Findings include:

Minister for Science and Innovation, Malcolm Wicks, said: "This report underscores the increasing need for people to develop and hone skills at all levels, regardless of their profession. We recognise that in today's competitive global environment, Britain has to have a skilled, innovative workforce in order to compete. It's pleasing to see the strong growth in the number of people holding qualifications at all levels and that people are increasingly using their skills at work."

Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell, said: "The Leitch Review of Skills has set out the ambition to have world class skills by 2020. The Government will shortly announce its plans for implementing Lord Leitch's recommendations. All the evidence points to a growing need for skills for our competitiveness. Ever fewer jobs will require no qualifications in future. Employers are now in the driving seat ensuring qualifications meet their needs. Qualifications must closely reflect the skills they want. We want their involvement in the qualifications reforms under way."

Professor Green said: "Our report shows that skills demands are continuing to rise in British workplaces, especially computing skills and influence skills. It is encouraging that there has been a narrowing of the skills gap between women and men. But there is no sign yet that British employers are affording greater discretion for workers to exercise their skills more independently."
-end-


Economic & Social Research Council

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