A shortage of qualified staff is fuelling a wave of Mergers and Acquisitions, with one in four deals by desperate companies effectively buying the people in short supply by acquiring the companies they work for, as finding staff with the skills necessary hits crisis point for chief executives worldwide.
The PwC’s 2015 global CEO survey reveals how companies strategies are being determined by a shortage of skills, with three quarters of 1,300 bosses surveyed said finding the right staff as a major concern for their business.
This is up 10 per cent from last year, and a massive 46 per cent from 2009.
Sarah Moore, a PwC partner who works in HR and M&A, told the Daily Telegraph: “Deals are being driven by the skills shortage and our data show it is the reason behind about a quarter of M&A activity.
“There are many reasons for acquisitions, such as increasing a company’s portfolio, getting a brand, growing its footprint, but acquiring the people associated with a company is increasingly one of them.
“It’s moving to the next level. Traditionally companies thought, ‘Where can we recruit the skill sets we need?’ but they can’t find the people. Now they are buying whole companies to get them.”
The shortage is affect all companies large or small, Moore added, with deals happening at all levels, with engineering, technology, digital, pharmaceutical and financial services the hotspots for mergers.
Skills shortages are most felt in Japan and South Africa, with 93 per cent of CEOs in those countries listing it as a concern. 83 per cent of bosses listed a skill shortage as a concern in the UK, ahead of the global average of 73 per cent.
The PwC said the shortage is creating a ‘gig economy’ for workers who have skills in short supply were they can pick and choose where and when to work, and who they work for, as companies are using unconventional ways of working, such as contingent workers, outsourcing and service agreements.
The leader of PwC’s global people and organisation practice, Jon Andrews, said the skills shortage has grown from a “nagging worry into something more challenging”.
He added: “Despite rising business confidence and ambitious hiring plans, organisations are struggling more than ever to find the right people to achieve their growth plans.
“Organisations can no longer continue to recruit people as they’ve always done – they need to be looking in new places, geographies and from new pools of talent.”
The PwC report also found that businesses worldwide believe governments should help with the problem, with 60pc of the CEOs questioned saying politicians should make creating a skilled and adaptable workforce a top priority.