Guest blog: Croner discuss Reskilling as an alternative to recruitment

Talent Crisis- Is Reskilling the Way Forward?

With staff coming and going in many industries across the UK, lots of businesses are focusing on recruitment. However, there is often a solution closer to home,  your own workforce is a valuable asset—one that may hold the key to your staffing problem.

Reskilling – A better alternative to recruitment?

Skill-based jobs are increasingly in demand. At first glance, it may seem too costly or too time-consuming to retrain an existing employee but that is before you take into consideration the current state of recruitment in the UK. Specialist roles are often extremely hard to fill—now, they’re even more in demand. This could result in a lengthy wait for a decent candidate. When a good recruit turns up, they might expect to be paid more than you are willing since their skills are so in demand. Then, it’s back to square one. Alternatively, you might be recruiting for a lower level role, and be flooded with candidates. This will lead to a lengthy recruitment process and might not even result in the right hire.

Does this mean reskilling works as a fix-all for your staffing problems? No. But it could be the key to getting back on the right track.


The obvious benefit is that your staff become more skilled, knowledgeable and efficient. They’ll need less supervision as a result and will be able to perform better. It also means they can become multi-disciplined. This can prove a huge advantage as your employees can take on more responsibilities, or supervise others.

The other major benefit is that you will save money. A report from the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) and PwC UK found that you can save nearly £50,000 through reskilling. This same data found that reskilling a financial services employee costs on average £31,800. On the other hand, the ‘redundancy and rehire’ approach carries an average cost of £80,875, the data revealed.

Reskilling also has a positive effect on retention. Those who have undergone training with your company are more likely to stay with the business. They’ll also be better engaged and more motivated.


Unfortunately, cost can also become a disadvantage. This depends entirely on your business circumstances, of course. For a smaller business, the immediate cost of re-training or upskilling an employee may be too much to offset the long-term benefits. It also requires a significant amount of work time. Staff will have to reduce their work duties while undergoing training. You could find a way around this however, such as training in smaller groups. By using this method, you won’t have to shut down entire departments.

You also need to consider whether the training occurs in-house, or you use an external provider. Internal training can work better, but requires that another person reduces their working hours to provide the training. Plus, you don’t have a guarantee of the quality of the training.

Final thoughts

If you do decide to take a re-training or upskilling approach you need to make sure you tackle it in the right way. Don’t begin reskilling tomorrow. Take time to plan a course. Otherwise, you’ll likely run into issues with scheduling and the training might be less effective. It could also raise existing tensions instead of alleviating them. This is particularly true in the case of a redundancy situation.

Also, consider whether retraining on its own is enough. Will the newly skilled employee be happy with a new job, or will they expect to be paid more? They’re in a different role, after all. If you fail to address their concerns, you could easily find your recently-trained employee poached by a competitor. You can prevent this by including a new clause in their employment contract. In this new clause, you will ask them to pay for the costs of their training should they leave before a certain length of time. Remember that the employee needs to agree to any change in their terms of employment.

Whatever your approach is—recruiting, reskilling, or a mixture of the two, don’t make quick, emotive decisions.

If you need support making the right call, you can always give Croner a call and speak to an adviser. You can find the details on the members area of the APHC website.