MORE than half of all companies across the South East, including those in Oxfordshire, are struggling to hire skilled staff, a new survey has revealed.

Three in five - 63 per cent - of South East firms are reporting difficulty recruiting skilled staff, and a third have seen increased staff turnover since June 2016, according to the new employment and skills study from Lloyds Banking Group and London business membership organisation London First.

The study sought to analyse the impact of Brexit on business recruitment and access to skills across the UK.

The skills shortage is proving to be a major issue for businesses in the region, with 46 per cent saying it was having an impact on their activity.

More than half, 55 per cent, said that skills shortages meant increased workload and stress for existing staff, and 41 per cent reported it was harder for them to take advantage of opportunities to grow revenue or expand the business.

The South East region has the third highest amount of firms experiencing recruitment challenges, behind London, top with 76 per cent and Northern Ireland with 69 per cent.

Tara Foley, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for the South East, said: “Access to the right skills, be it literacy, digital or practical skills, is absolutely crucial for businesses.

“Both private and public sector organisations have a role to play in nurturing the next generation of talent and working together we can develop the skills the region needs. We’re committed to nurturing young talent as part of our Helping Britain Prosper plan and, in the South East we employ apprentices across our business, working with schools, colleges and universities.”