Employers Survey Results Published

Many thanks to those businesses who completed the Employers Survey in December.

We invited over 1800 businesses to respond to our survey and received a good range of responses from across the District. The majority of respondents were optimistic about the next 12 months with many seeking to move into new premises and others trying to expand on their current site. Those seeking to move to new premises were mainly looking to move within Folkestone (where the majority of respondents were based) and others looking primarily at Otterpool and Romney Marsh to meet their future expansion needs. However, there seemed some disappointment at the lack of premises available to meet more immediate needs.

Employment levels have stabilised, with fewer companies expanding their workforce compared to the previous years. We also discovered that companies have experienced difficulty in recruiting to certain positions particularly in professional, skilled trades, administrative and sales. There is some suggestion that the lack of candidates for these posts is leading to rising wages/salaries aimed at attracting key staff, but also an increased take-up of apprenticeships.

60% of businesses who responded to the Employers Survey offer ‘on the job’ training leading to a recognised qualification. This includes apprenticeships, day-release courses and online training. Many hadn’t heard about the Government’s new T-skills and degree level apprenticeships. Greater interest was shown in developing staff through occasional one-day courses or longer-term courses designed specifically for business. As in previous surveys, satisfaction with local training providers remained high.

Overall, there seems to be increased competition in some sectors but potential to upskill existing staff as a way to improve productivity. Given the high levels of employment throughout the UK currently, recruiting candidates with the right skills seems difficult and some employers have recognised the increased worth of growing and retaining existing staff through offering longer-term training programmes leading to a recognised qualification. Despite the difficulties and uncertainties, the District’s employers remain optimistic.

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