The Skills Gap Shadow over the RL100 Leaders’ Summit

Amberjack helps future focused organisations bridge the gap between today and tomorrow.


November 4th 2021 marked the return of the Resourcing Leaders’ Summit. RL100 came back with a bang, welcoming their biggest cohort of delegates attending the 2-day event, so far! 

Full of insights, storytelling, collaboration and challenge solving from across the industry, the event is a force for positive change, yet it was soon clear that these leaders and their organisations had not escaped the looming shadow in the shape of the skills gap. 

Register your interest via the form on the right, to discover how our specialist teams and services can help you fill your vacancies with high potential candidates, and beat the skills shortage. 

The Skills Gap 

As soon as the gap in skills in technology and STEM was mentioned, hands went up, but this is nothing new. A room full of qualms and queries about the skills gap fits current trends: The Open University’s 2021 Business Barometer report found that 61% of organisations are struggling, as candidates lack specialist skills and experience, and 57% are finding that it significantly affects their growth potential. 

The difficulty faced by organisations is set to continue into the 2030s, with many at RL100 predicting a 10-year recovery time. When you add the 42% year-on-year growth in tech vacancies, Brexit, and a sharp decline in the number of EU nationals in the UK, to the equation, you get a mixing pot of problems with no quick-fixes.  

But, are quick-fixes the solutions you need? 

“61% of organisations are struggling, as candidates lack specialist skills and experience, and 57% are finding that it significantly affects their growth potential.”

Can Future Talent Help Fill the Gap? 

Forbes have suggested that the ‘Skills Gap’ might be more accurately described as an ‘Awareness Gap’. Whereby graduates, interns, apprentices, and other entry level talent find it difficult to make their skills visible to employers, and employers looking for experience can fail to see the skills candidates have developed via different routes and the opportunities they might afford. In this way, organisations looking to fill their vacancies might want to reflect on the job requirements to ensure that they aren’t equating the amount of work experience with the skills and talent they’re actually looking for. With lack of the ‘right’ candidates often cited as one of the main reasons for vacancies, encouraging applications with the potential for opportunity and development is surely a light at the end of the tunnel? 

At Amberjack we’re all about enabling a world where people are hired and progressed on the basis of their future potential. We asked our LinkedIn network: ‘Do you think that hiring more entry level talent into your organisation is one of the key ways to unlock the skills gap challenge?’ and 96% of respondents said YES. Could this be the answer to your organisation’s prayers, too? 

Unfulfilled roles come with cost. Organisations who hire candidates on potential and help them reach it, not only fill vacancies, but also save money. According to the OU Business Barometer report, businesses offering training to lower-level employees spent £16,800, yet for the majority hiring temporary staff to fill the gap, they spent £23,400. 

Embracing the opportunities available by hiring future talent, is a clear path through the maze built by the skills gap. Amberjack believes this can help you find and nurture individuals with the digital, engineering, education, and other skills you’re searching for. 

Practicing What We Preach 

We at Amberjack believe that hiring Future Talent is a key element of filling your employee gaps with candidates who have a genuine potential for growth. 

In partnership with Showcode, Amberjack distributed a student survey to graduates and those completing a degree, and with nearly 600 responses we found that 50% of those surveyed were more likely to apply for a job if they felt they would get training and support. It seems organisations looking for job-ready candidates might be closing themselves off to the opportunities bought by passionate jobseekers who are willing to learn. 

This is where the organisation-candidate disconnect is most apparent. As mentioned above, there is a clear contradiction between the apparent lack of applications for organisations, and the barriers which prevent those in their early careers taking up the vacancies. 

We asked our own recent Amberjack graduates what they thought about this. 

What were the biggest barriers in entering work after graduating? 

Connor, Graphic Designer 

“The biggest barrier for me entering work once I’d finished university, was being messed around by different companies when it came to setting up interviews, receiving and reviewing contracts and not really having the chance to properly negotiate a decent salary… The process was very long winded and I didn’t feel particularly valued, until I applied to Amberjack.” 

Jasmine, Marketing Executive 

“As a 2020 graduate, it has been difficult to see employers talk about the lack of skills in the candidate market, and struggling to fill roles. Especially as at one point, I applied for a job on LinkedIn with over 500 applications in just 2 days of the job listing going up. Yet, I’m almost certain that most of them, like me, weren’t considered because we didn’t meet the experience criteria. This was the biggest barrier for me; I knew that I was prepared to put in the work and learn, having studied relevant topics and taken online courses, and that I would bring passion to an employer, but because I didn’t have at least 2-3 years’ experience, I doubt my application even came across the hiring manager’s desk.” 

Oscar, Candidate Management Specialist 

Oscar started in Amberjack on a placement, and has since progressed in his role. He has seen that for candidates in the job market who “do not do a sandwich course, lack of experience is definitely an issue.” 

How do you feel about the job requirements for entry-level roles? 

Connor, Graphic Designer 

“I’ve seen so many job adverts for entry level positions that required upwards of 2 years of experience, and it definitely left me feeling a bit deflated as the requirements completely contradict the role itself.” 

Nathalie, Candidate Management Specialist 

“On the whole, I feel like companies ask a lot of graduates, as I’ve spoken to friends and seen some grad job adverts saying they want 2+ years’ experience. This makes me feel that they want an experienced employee but with a grad job title and salary. As the grad job market is so competitive, I suppose a lot of companies can get away with it.” 

How has it been in your current role with Amberjack, as a recent graduate entering the organisation? 

Connor, Graphic Designer 

“From the interview to the onboarding process and being here the past few months, everyone at Amberjack has made me feel very welcomed and valued. I’ve been given the freedom and space to develop and show my skills as a graphic designer and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can have a positive impact within the company, in the future.” 

Jasmine, Marketing Executive 

“Joining Amberjack as a new graduate has been really exciting! It’s been lovely to feel respected and valued as an entry-level employee, and to be able to get involved sharing my ideas and taking on responsibilities to help the team work more effectively. I’m really looking forward to learning from my colleagues and progressing with the company!” 

Nathalie, Candidate Management Specialist 

“It’s been a really positive experience so far! It is definitely a culture shock coming from 4 years at Uni to a working context but I’m really enjoying it and still have a lot to learn!” 

Don’t just take it from our new joiners though, take it from our Managing Directors and Department Heads too! 

Jonathon, Sales Director 

“At Amberjack, we are specialists in hiring for Future Talent, and in response to talent shortages we have intentionally sought to hire early talent into traditionally experienced hire roles with grit, creative force and more importantly applied intellect. We believe in our Hi-Po model, and it has successfully assessed the very best candidates for us, and quickly. They are curious, enthusiastic and not afraid to fail fast as they learn. I might even learn something from them myself… which is kind of the point!” 

What can we learn from this? 

With the disconnect being felt from resourcing leaders at RL100, entry-level talent, and management, it’s clear that the effects of the skills shortage are wide ranging. In this article, and throughout the industry, key themes keep popping up. From the candidate experience during application, and the entry requirements from employers, to the ability to learn and progress in a role, it appears that some reflection and adaptation is required to get ahead of the curve. 

To find out more about how Amberjack can help your organisation, use the contact form above to register your interest with our team, or explore our technologyservices, and client success stories! 

Share this Article

Related Articles


What Our Clients Have to Say

Scroll to Top