The study, sponsored by the audit, tax and advisory services firm, KPMG, revealed that of the 115 UK firms that took part in a survey, 60% of them were optimistic about the future of the economy. Almost two thirds of the firms were planning to expand their business over the next year and a similar amount were determined to increase headcount over the next 6 months compared with 18% that plan to reduce headcount in the same period.

Many of the businesses identified a skills shortage in the UK as a result of recruitment of highly skilled individuals having become a major problem that they face when trying to grow and expand their business. Indeed two out of three businesses in the study stated that they seriously struggle to source the high skilled workers they need from this country. This apparent skill shortage and  the globalisation of many of the UK’s most prolific markets has caused a high proportion of firms to look to the global talent pool to source their personnel and drive forward their businesses. Almost 60% of the businesses in the study identified visa system reform as one of the main areas of legislative improvements that would benefit their businesses the most.

The survey highlighted that the above is reflected most notably in businesses requiring STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

KPMG’s survey has been expounded by Alistair Cox, the chief executive of recruitment company Hays. Cox suggests that the government’s net migration target is meaningless and exacerbates the skills shortage in the UK.

According to Hays’ “Global Skills Index” the UK has a talent mismatch of 9.6 out of 10. The index measures the gap between the skills companies need and their ability to find them in the labour market. The higher the number the greater the difficulty in finding staff. By comparison Germany scored 3.3 out of 10 and France scored 5.9.

Mr Cox stated, “The data speaks for itself. There are high-level jobs being created today in this country which we simply cannot fill. That situation is unlikely to get any easier as the economy continues to recover. If we want to build world-class businesses in a world-class economy we need world-class talent and we should be 'passport blind’ to that at a highly skilled level.”