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STEM skills shortage continues to hit UK businesses

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The boss of engineering and technology recruiter Gattaca has said the UK’s current shortage of STEM skills is continuing to hit firms.

Chief executive Matthew Wragg said today that the London-listed firm was “well placed” as it entered a new financial year, amid a limited supply of the “niche” skills.

“There remains a shortage of candidates which plays to our key strength of deep knowledge and understanding of our sectors and niche STEM skills,” he said in a statement. “We remain confident that the long-term fundamentals in our core STEM markets provide an exciting future for the business as it returns to growth.”

A lack of STEM skills has left gaps in employment across the country’s pharmaceutical, defence and aerospace sectors.

At the beginning of the month, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence found that 97 per cent of decision makers from across ‘high trust’ businesses in defence and aerospace said they are struggling to gain a digital advantage across data, people and technology amid the shortage.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills revealed earlier this year that 43 per cent of STEM vacancies were hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants, leaving tech skills in even higher demand.

James Hatch, chief digital officer of London-listed BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence business, said at the time that “if we unlock the country’s digital advantage, the future will host a richer and safer society and the UK will have an increased global influence, across defence, technology and science, and cybersecurity.

“These organisations cannot risk failing in the way a start-up can, the cost would be too great, impacting security at both a national and international level… They are responsible for handling the country’s most sensitive and secret data, delivering services to citizens and safeguarding democracy. While the barriers are numerous, unlocking digital advantage in a high trust context is significantly imperative, enabling organisations to solve some of today’s most urgent problems and defend against adversaries who are always innovating.”