Skills shortages hamper exporters

Exporters are struggling to recruit the right staff as a result of labour shortages, a report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has shown.

In a survey of more than 3,300 exporters, the BCC found that manufacturers were worst affected, followed by the services sector.

Two-thirds (66%) of exporting manufacturers reported difficulty recruiting staff in Q1 2018.

The greatest challenge for this sector was in finding skilled manual and technical labour.

Meanwhile, 57% of services exporters faced difficulty recruiting staff over the same period, with filling professional and managerial-level positions proving tough.

Despite these concerns, the survey showed continued growth in export sales and orders for both sectors during the first 3 months of 2018, though this was slightly slower for the services sector.

Adam Marshall, director-general of the BCC, said:

"At a time of significant uncertainty and change, it's pleasing to be able to report that many UK exporters are doing well.

"Yet many tell us that their future prospects are being constrained because it's becoming harder and harder to recruit the people they need to grow."

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