Insights into STEM Skills Shortages in the UK

Insights into STEM Skills Shortages in the UK
Robin Aris

5 minutes

Insights into STEM Skills Shortages in the UK

Robin Aris from Synergy Scientific Solutions explores the latest insights surrounding UK Skills Shortages in STEM

Skills shortages in the UK are costing STEM businesses £1.5 billion a year.

Research from STEM Learning reveals that 7 in 10 leaders are finding it difficult to find people with the right skills and are struggling with major staff shortages.

Meanwhile, SRG’s 2021 STEM Survey shows that over half of STEM professionals have had to reskill over the past year.

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution has offered organisations innovative technology, to truly see any benefit the right workforce is essential. Changing skills requirements have generated a competitive talent market, where organisations are paying increasingly higher wages to attract a limited pool of qualified candidates.

To succeed in a rapidly changing and evolving world of work, STEM leaders must not only adapt and reconsider the skills needed to succeed, but the way they source those skills and maintain workforce agility across times of uncertainty.

In this article I will explore:

  • Why skills shortages are rising in the UK
  • Skills of the future in STEM
  • How scientific services are solving the skills gap

Why are skills shortages rising in the UK?

From the complexities of Brexit, to workforce limitations due to COVID-19, the UK workforce has faced immense disruption and upheaval over the last few years. With complex visa routes narrowing the STEM talent pool, leaders must make informed, future-proof, talent decisions based on skills needed for the future of work. 

Workforce limitations from COVID-19 as well as technological developments have led to a rise in automation across STEM. Automation often offers businesses a cheaper, more efficient alternative, enabling faster process times and an overall more streamlined process.

While automation can in some cases reduce the workforce, in times of transition, organisations are more likely to be actively seeking to expand and supplement their workforce with technically skilled professionals to help upskill their existing staff. 

Research from McKinsey shows that while 43% of UK organisations are set to reduce their workforce due to automation, 34% of organisations are actively expanding their teams, and an additional 41% are turning to contractors for task-specialised work.

The STEM skills of the future

According to The World Economic Forum, the top skills that employers see as critical in the lead up to 2025 are: 

  1. Critical Thinking 
  2. Analysis
  3. Problem Solving
  4. Active Learning
  5. Resilience
  6. Stress Tolerance
  7. Flexibility

These skills reflect an emerging need for self-sufficiency and endurance, as well as an ability to think outside of the box, while continuously learning to keep up with new developments.

How scientific services are solving the skills gap

Scientific services help organisations across pharma and biotech preserve their competitive edge, with an externally developed workforce that works alongside wider internal teams. This approach simultaneously facilitates internal development, progression and innovation, while freeing up managerial time for high-level tasks.

Synergy is a Scientific Service Provider (SSP), powered by SRG. Unlike traditional CRO’s, Synergy can access a vast network of talent consultants and candidates via SRG, enabling fast, responsive hires to be made at speed – despite the complexities of today’s talent market.

In industries such as pharma and biotech, time consciousness is critical. While soft skills have a growing impact in the workplace, organisations can lack the time to establish and enable workforce development. Meanwhile, disruptive innovations need entrepreneurial skill sets, disease managers need data and comms skills, and manufacturers require automation and supply-chain analytics skills.

Workforce alternatives like Synergy and other scientific services, play a critical role in enabling the workforce to grow, without increasing managerial workload.  

Scientific Services solve the skills gap by:

  • Reskilling – reskilling the insourced team, insourcing businesses can move with speed and agility to redeploy talent where, and when, it’s needed by the client.
  • Adding flexibility – helping businesses to scale resources according to workload
  • Rapidly building resources – helping clients rapidly build teams in the face of escalating workloads while allowing for headcount to be scaled back as the project ends.

Want to find out how scientific services could help you?

Synergy partner with scientific organisations across the world, equipping laboratories with expert talent that drive organisational success, from within.

At Synergy, we help laboratories improve their agility with flexible teams and staffing options who we source, manage and develop ourselves.

Our friendly team are available to discuss your resourcing requirements at: synergyqueries@srgtalent.com 


Latest News, Events & Insights


Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay up to date with SRG

Latest Salary Survey

SRG are industry leaders and work with 3rd party vendors for market intelligence