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Impact of Poor Basic Skills: The Employer Perspective

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Trinh Tu, Research Director, Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute delivered this presentation on the Impact of poor skills: Employer perspective at 'Improving basic skills: An international perspective on a UK dilemma'; an Academic Conference sponsored by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute held on 14 January 2015.

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Impact of Poor Basic Skills: The Employer Perspective

  1. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI Basic Skills Impact of Poor The employer perspective Trinh Tu
  2. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI To estimate…Aims Evidence The prevalence of poor basic skills in the workplace and its impact on employers The costs and benefits associated with public- funded basic skills training £ Systematic literature review Quantitative data collection In-depth case studies
  3. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI A minority of employers perceive poor basic skills to be an issue
  4. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI A minority of employers perceive poor basic skills to be an issue 5.5% Literacy gap only 3.5% Numeracy gap only 3% Both 12% Of workplaces report a basic skills gap
  5. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI A minority of employers perceive poor basic skills to be an issue 94% 92% 88% 87% 86% 84% 83% No gap Gap Not required 4% 4% 4% 4% 4% 2% 3% 1% 4% 6% 7% 9% 12% 11% % of employers in England Communicate verbally with clients, colleagues or subcontractors Fully understand written procedures Use numerical data or information correctly in day-to-day activities Perform simple mental arithmetic / calculations Complete day-to-day paperwork without errors Respond in writing to queries or complaints Spot numerical errors
  6. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI A minority of employers perceive poor basic skills to be an issue 5.5% Literacy gap only 3.5% Numeracy gap only 3% both 8% on performance? Material impact 12% Of workplaces report a basic skills gap
  7. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI But there is evidence of under-reporting
  8. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI But there is evidence of under-reporting Particular issues for SMEs Absence of HR systems to identify basic skills problems and put in place solutions HR Higher level qualifications sometimes used as a proxy Majority do not specify minimum English or maths in recruitment General lack of awareness of basic skills requirements for different job roles
  9. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI But there is evidence of under-reporting Normal business processes masking poor basic skills Reinforces perception that impact is minimal; not merit investment in training Potential to lock in systematic skills decline among employees Widespread use of (precarious) coping mechanisms - shadowing, scaffolding and peer support
  10. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI There are costs to poor basic skills
  11. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI 50% 44% 38% 35% 25% 18% Increased number of errors Prevented more efficient / new processes being introduced Additional costs for training Reduced product / output quality Failure to comply with requirements (e.g. H&S / quality requirements) Higher volume of customer complaints 43% 36% 33% 33% 26% 17% Literacy Numeracy There are costs to poor basic skills Impact of basic literacy and numeracy gap (self-reported)
  12. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI Limited appetite among employers for formal basic skills training
  13. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI Limited appetite among employers for formal basic skills training Basic skills training in the last year Nationally 15% With a basic skills gap 31% Majority of workplaces with a basic skills gap have not provided training … except where that qualification was deemed to have an external currency
  14. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI Implications for public-funded basic skills provision
  15. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI Implications for public-funded basic skills provision Difficulty identifying impacts at the firm level Not a vehicle for significant changeof basic skills provision is as part of apprenticeships Employers report a range of business benefits but possibly conflated with apprenticeship training Low volume and intensity – an average of 2.4% of employees per workplace
  16. Version 1 | Confidential© Ipsos MORI Conclusions Likely under- reporting of basic skills deficits in workplaces and associated costs Possibility of systematic built- in long-term skills decline Need to understand how collaborative workplace practices can develop skills as well as compensate for deficits Consider funding alternatives to basic skills training activities – peer learning schemes, support for reading for pleasure and other informal, non- credentials based activities
  17. Thank trinh.tu@ipsos.com
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Trinh Tu, Research Director, Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute delivered this presentation on the Impact of poor skills: Employer perspective at 'Improving basic skills: An international perspective on a UK dilemma'; an Academic Conference sponsored by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute held on 14 January 2015.

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