The biggest skills gap exists for specialist skills

The Employer Skills Survey breaks down the types of skills missing from applicants and the workforce into two categories:

  • Technical and practical skills – such as IT skills, numerical skills and specialist skills or knowledge
  • People and personal skills – including time management, teamworking and communication skills

As the survey cuts across different sectors, these skills are not specific to the voluntary sector and as a result, not all skills covered are relevant to voluntary organisations.

Within technical and practical skills, specialist skills or knowledge needed to perform the role were the most common missing skills from applicants (66%) and staff (52%). As mentioned previously, larger organisations were found to have a bigger skills gap possibly because they are more likely to require specialist skills. The type of skills missing from staff seems to support this, with most large organisations reporting a skills gap in ‘specialist skills or knowledge needed to perform the role’. Over two-thirds (69%) of organisations with 100–249 employees said this, compared to 54% of organisations with 5–24 employees. Other skills such as operational skills, and management and leadership skills were also more likely to be missing from bigger organisations (ESS).

Technical and practical skills

Specialist skills or knowledge needed to perform the role were the skills most missing from applicants and staff. Other technical skills such as complex analytical skills (49%), operational skills and digital skills, such as basic and advanced IT skills (both 43%) were also reported missing from applicants. The prevalence of these missing skills was similar for current staff, with 47% missing complex analytical skills, 44% missing operational skills, and 36% missing digital skills (ESS).

Chart 6: Specialist skills are the most common 'hard' skill missing from staff

People and personal skills

For applicants, self-management skills (66%), and management and leadership skills (56%) were the most common missing skills in the voluntary sector, a higher proportion than in other sectors. (ESS).

Self-management skills were also a sought-after skill for current staff as, similar to applicants, this skill was one of the biggest skills missing (67%), along with management and leadership skills (57%) (ESS).

Chart 7: Self-management skills are the most common 'soft' skill missing from staff