How Hollywood Could Help Fix the UK’s Skills Shortage

How Hollywood Could Help Fix the UK’s Skill Shortage

How Hollywood Could Help Fix the UK’s Skills Shortage

According to Totaljobs, two-thirds of employers are expected to face skill shortages in their industries in 2018. Furthermore, Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU) is also predicted to cause issues as well.

The same report revealed that while unemployment levels are at a low level as of August 2018, businesses are operating in a candidate-led market.

This means that employees will need to stretch themselves further to carry out jobs.

Why? Because they are either not trained for or simply cannot complete them in a reasonable time.

Mid-management roles are getting hit the hardest, with 52% of them feeling the impact. This is closely followed by junior/executive positions (37%).

As a result, productivity levels are also dropping considerably. In essence, the outcome of a positive dip in unemployment levels has ironically caused a skills shortage in many industries.

The question is, what has the UK’s growing skill shortage crisis got to do with the glitz and the glam of Hollywood movies?

Feel inspired

Back in 2015, the Financial Times published a fascinating article on the impact Hollywood has on job seekers.

In fact, it briefly covers how one of Britain’s best-known geneticists, Adam Rutherford, said his interest in scientific research was ignited after watching Ghostbusters and Back to the Future.

Dr Rutherford says:“Broadly, I think there is an effect. Many scientists I’ve spoken to have cited classic sci-fi such as the original Star Trek as a driver for moving into research.”

He believes that films like Interstellar and Ex Machina have transformed more complex subjects into normality.

Not only have these kinds of films made them “less nerdy”, but through the screenwriters and directors’ vision, they’ve simplified it so cinema-goers can start to understand and show interest.

At the end of the day, candidates want to experience a level of job satisfaction.

So portraying lesser-known roles in a more humane way, such as Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, can also have a positive effect.

It can expand a person’s mind and get them thinking about a career they hadn’t previously considered.

Plugging the gap

As previously mentioned, mid-level management positions are at the biggest risk of facing the backlash of the skills shortage crisis.

There’s an argument to say that the film industry may have even played a part in making this role particularly unattractive to a lot of people.

For instance, Kevin Spacey quits his office job to take up a regular job in a fast-food chain in American Beauty. He even quotes: “I’m looking for the least possible amount of responsibility.”

In the popular comedy, The Hangover, Bradley Cooper’s character Phil plays an experienced teacher. However, he’s a prime example of a guy who realises his life is almost stuck in mediocrity without any challenges. His trip to Las Vegas is his escape from his ‘9-5’ day job.

It’s these little factors that can plant a negative seed. That can then influence whether candidates to take a certain career path in the first place.

But, not only that, it can also influence whether candidates wish to develop themselves within their respected fields further down the line.

However, pinning the mediocrity and mundane element of a job solely on Hollywood would be wrong.

The film industry often picks up on trends and how a large consensus of people feel in their careers at that given time. Sometimes people are bored, uninspired and under-challenged.

In theory, the problem of keeping employees happy can’t really be solved by Hollywood. Screenwriters will always pick up on these cultural feelings and personify it in their writing.

It is down to an individual business to create the best work culture and offer a great benefits package to keep employees motivated and striving to learn new skills.

Back to the Future

One thing Hollywood is and will continue to make a difference with is inspiring people.

Over the years, the film industry has been great at advertising the American military in all its glory.

Notorious for being patriotic, some films like Act of Valor and 21 Strong even made me consider changing nationalities and signing up for the army.

(I jest.)

But in all seriousness, the UK film industry and their growing influence in major blockbusters across the pond has created a platform of opportunities. It’s within this platform that they can help inspire a new surge in applications within a certain industry.

Perhaps the next 007 film could feature a small scene where Q talks in-depth about the extra mechanical elements he’s added into Bond’s hot new car.

In turn, the audience might think a career in engineering, where there’s a huge skills shortage. That could be quite a fun and exciting avenue to explore!

Or maybe a film which highlights the positive aspects of becoming a nurse. Picture the fulfilment, instead of constantly associating the career with death and tear-jerking moments.

There’s no reason why directors can’t look to help the economy out and solve the skills shortage crisis. It works in the same way that movies strike a deal with brands to sell something through product advertisement.

Clive Davis, the director at financial recruiters Robert Half, says:

“Hypothetically, I don’t see why an industry association shouldn’t lobby to have its sector used positively as a kind of product placement”.

I’d love to know what you think…

What are your thoughts?

Do you think the film industry can play a positive role in inspiring professionals to take up certain roles?

Or is it down to the government and businesses to provide more training to fill the gap?

Let us know below or start a conversation with us on Twitter.

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