Understanding the Employer Skills Survey 2022: Key insights and implications for educators

Posted in News & Press  ·  28th June 2024

The Employer Skills Survey (ESS) 2022 provides a comprehensive overview of the skills landscape in the UK. This survey, conducted by the Department for Education, highlights the skills employers value and the gaps they encounter in the workforce. Here’s a breakdown of the most significant sections and their implications for young people in school.

Key sections and their significance

  1. Vacancies and skills shortages
    • Findings: The survey found a significant increase in vacancies, with many being hard-to-fill due to skills shortages. In 2022, 36% of all vacancies were classified as skill-shortage vacancies, a substantial increase from previous years.
    • Significance: This indicates a growing demand for specific skills that are not being met by the current workforce. The most affected sectors include Health and Social Work, Business Services, and Construction.
  2. Skills gaps
    • Findings: Employers reported that 15% of their workforce had skills gaps, meaning employees were not fully proficient in their roles. This marks an increase from previous years.
    • Significance: Skills gaps highlight areas where employees lack the necessary skills, affecting productivity and efficiency. The public sector, especially Education and Public Administration, reported higher incidences of skills gaps.
  3. Impact on business performance
    • Findings: Skills shortages and gaps significantly impact business performance, leading to increased operational costs, delays in developing new products or services, and difficulties meeting quality standards.
    • Significance: These challenges underscore the importance of addressing skills shortages and gaps to maintain competitiveness and operational efficiency.
  4. Training and workforce development
    • Findings: Despite the challenges, many employers are investing in training to bridge skills gaps. However, there is still a significant portion of businesses that do not engage in sufficient workforce development.
    • Significance: Continuous professional development is critical for addressing skills shortages and ensuring that employees are equipped to meet evolving job requirements.

Implications for educators

Educators play a crucial role in preparing students for the workforce. Here’s how they can use the information from the ESS 2022 to enhance career readiness:

  1. Align curriculum with industry needs
    • Action: Incorporate skills that are in high demand, such as digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving, into the curriculum. Collaborate with local businesses to understand their needs and adjust teaching methods accordingly.
    • Example: Offering courses in emerging technologies or organising workshops on soft skills development.
  2. Focus on soft skills
    • Action: Emphasise the importance of soft skills like communication, teamwork, and adaptability. These are essential for addressing the skills gaps identified in the survey.
    • Example: Implementing group projects, public speaking opportunities, and conflict resolution exercises.
  3. Promote continuous learning
    • Action: Encourage a culture of lifelong learning among students. Highlight the importance of ongoing education and professional development in maintaining competitiveness in the job market.
    • Example: Providing resources for online courses and encouraging participation in extracurricular activities that promote skill development.
  4. Strengthen employer-educator partnerships
    • Action: Build strong partnerships with local employers to offer internships, apprenticeships, and job shadowing opportunities. This can help students gain practical experience and understand the expectations of the workplace.
    • Example: Organising career fairs and creating mentorship programmes involving industry professionals.
  5. Utilise real-world assessments
    • Action: Incorporate real-world scenarios and assessments into the learning process. This helps students apply their knowledge in practical situations and develop problem-solving skills.
    • Example: Case studies, simulations, and project-based learning initiatives.


The Employer Skills Survey 2022 provides valuable insights into the current skills landscape and the challenges faced by employers. By aligning educational strategies with these findings, educators can better prepare students for the workforce, ensuring they possess the skills necessary to succeed in their careers.

For more detailed insights, you can refer to the UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2022 and other resources from the Skills for Life Network.

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