Talent shortages are a top issue for all UK businesses but are more acute in large companies, a survey by Clarus Consulting has found.

A survey of both small and large businesses found that talent shortages are rife in all businesses. Finding the right talent was a top concern for 19 percent of top business leaders, making it the top issue overall along with increasing turnover. But for large companies with turnovers of £1bn or more, 40 percent of leaders named it as their top challenge, ahead of improving profitability (30%).

Mark Croft, managing partner at Clarus Consulting, says:

“Our research shows that skills shortages are a reality for many businesses and apply across the board from major FTSE giants down to small and medium-sized firms.  Quite simply, they are finding it hard to get the people with the skills that they need.  Building the right talent capability in order to take advantage of better economic conditions is a key priority for businesses.”

The research highlights that UK business is focused on fundamentals. Altogether, the four core ‘traditional’ issues of increasing turnover, finding the right talent, improving performance and increasing profitability were the top issues for 79 percent of respondents.

Meanwhile, digital channels and the threat posed by online competition were named as a top three challenge by just 9 percent of business leaders. Those that were most concerned were financial services firms who saw a need to adapt their business models and balance that with the increasing complexity of market regulation.

“It seems that digital channels are not a top issue for most UK leaders right now,” Mark Croft says.  “This seems surprising, but is a reflection perhaps of the extent to which businesses want to focus on the fundamentals of performance while the going is good.  Maybe digital is just over-hyped; maybe business leaders are still under-estimating it.  Either way, it is not making it onto their top list of concerns at the moment.  They are more concerned with the tangibles, the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the business, than its virtual footprint.”