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Research Questions

  1. What is the level of the skills demand in the GCGP region?
  2. What are the main causes for difficulties in meeting the skills demand in the Cambridge area?
  3. What are employers doing to meet the skills demand?
  4. What is the impact of unmet skills demand/skills gaps on employers in the Cambridge area?

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough (GCGP) region is a highly prosperous area, with prodigious job growth. Assessing and understanding the skills demand of the present and future local labour market is therefore of great importance to inform policy discussions about skills development at the local level.

This report, commissioned by Cambridge Ahead and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, uses the Employer Skills 2015 survey carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills to assess the skills demand from the perspective of businesses. Analyses are conducted for four industry sectors that were considered particularly relevant for the local labour market in the region, namely Life Sciences, Information and Communications, Health and Social Work and Construction.

Key Findings

  • Employers in the GCGP region report having a similar share of vacancies and hard-to-fill vacancies as in the rest of England.
  • Life Sciences in Cambridge experience a higher rate of vacancies and shortages of skills than other parts of England.
  • The share of available vacancies and the hard-to-fill vacancies for professionals in the Cambridge region is much higher than nationally.
  • The skills gaps and hard-to-fill vacancies have greater impact on employers in the GCGP region than in the rest of England, in particular in the Life Sciences and Construction sectors.

Recommendations

  • Further research is needed to help better understand specific issues related to skills demand in the labour market. Such research could consult a broader range of local businesses, for example, or conduct more detailed analysis into specific sectors of the economy.
  • It would be useful to examine how a new sectoral approach in government strategy, which seeks to provide additional opportunities for business growth and employment, could affect demand for certain skills.
  • Future research should investigate how the devolution deal, which provides flexibility to policymakers, could mobilise local-level skills initiatives and additional funding to deal with the skills demand.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was commissioned by Cambridge Ahead and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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