UK businesses are missing out on a pool of untapped talent due to underinvestment in upskilling opportunities for employees, says the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).
The association said the skills ceiling is contributing to a decade long pay squeeze, with business productivity lower in the last decade than at any time in the 20th century.
Analysis of the latest ONS labour statistics, by AAT, found that lower skilled office workers are being trapped under the skills ceiling due to a mismatch between their skills and employer needs.
The association said a lack of access to training for UK workers has created a skills ceiling which costs lower paid staff £11,926 a year.
It added that for businesses, the skills ceiling is limiting productivity, stifling ability to promote and retain staff and blocking the path to a happy and driven workforce. For individuals, it is capping earning potential, blocking promotion prospects and damaging self-worth in the workplace.
To raise awareness of the problem, AAT is highlighting the skills ceiling and urging businesses to invest in workforce-wide upskilling by offering staff training opportunities that can provide immediate benefits to employers and employees.
Mark Farrar, chief executive of AAT, said: “A major issue is that those receiving the majority of upskilling opportunities are already highly skilled and highly paid, when while those who need it most are left behind. This is wrong and bad for business.
“This vicious cycle needs to be broken, and it is in the power of businesses up and down the country to invest in, grow and retain a productive and happy workforce.”