By Ian McConnell

AROUND 84 per cent of Scottish organisations say skills shortages fuelled by factors including Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic are creating an increased workload for other staff, while 77% are experiencing reduced output, profitability, or growth as a result.

These are among the findings of research published today by The Open University and British Chambers of Commerce, which concludes staff in Scotland appear to be under more pressure than employees in other parts of the UK.

Seven in 10 respondents in Scotland agreed that their organisation is currently facing skills shortages, up from 62% in the 2021 business barometer report. The latest barometer highlights “the effect the skills shortage is having on staff morale and wellbeing”.

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British Chambers and The Open University said: “Organisations also reported they were feeling the full impact of complex socio-economic issues such as Covid-19, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and rising business costs, [which] were all feeding into the skills shortage.

David Allen, senior partnerships manager for The Open University in Scotland, said: “ highlights more Scottish companies are struggling to recruit the right people with the right skills. Critically, staff in Scotland seem to be under more pressure than staff elsewhere in the UK. More employers say this year that the skills shortage is increasing their teams’ workload.”

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Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “By 2030, a fifth of Scotland’s population will be of retirement age and by 2050 this will be one-quarter. Our nation’s overall population growth since 1970 is only 5%, well behind peer nations. As we attempt to recover from the pandemic and grapple with the impact of geopolitical events, these worrying statistics, together with the results of this survey, confirm that labour and skills shortages are worsening, acting as a dangerous drag on economic recovery and growth.”