Ministers are being warned that £13bn of extra costs may be needed to ensure the UK workforce can prosper in the post-covid economy.
A study published by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) shows that “nine in ten employees will need to reskill by 2030”, as a result of new technologies and the “changing nature” of the UK economy.
The confederation also called for the government to use Covid-19 as “momentum to drive a national reskilling effort to futureproof livelihoods and power UK competitiveness.”
CBI’s study also showed that in a time when automation is on the rise, those in disadvantaged areas will be most affected, participation in training by those in lower-skilled jobs which are most at risk of automation is 40% lower than that for higher-skilled workers, while half of those in the lowest socioeconomic group in the UK have received no training since leaving school.
It follows results released by the Office for National Statistics that showed as of March 2020, the number of payroll employees had fallen by 673,000.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: “Ensuring people can adapt to the changing world of work will be one of the most important missions this country embarks on in the next decade.
“The economic impact of Covid-19 makes starting now only more urgent, jobs were already changing with nine out of ten employees needing to reskill over the next decade. The pandemic has accelerated the need to act now.”
She added: “The right skills strategy can help every worker to progress their careers, drive up living standards and level-up the country. But a failure to act will leave businesses facing skills shortages and workers facing long-term unemployment.
“Let’s not waste time during this pandemic. The CBI wants to work with unions, education providers and the government to ensure that employees working fewer hours have as much opportunity as possible to retrain and reskill.”