It takes five months to train new employees to do their job, report UK businesses

UK businesses have to wait more than five months, on average, for new joiners to get up to speed in their jobs, according to global research by Robert Half.

  • Digital transformation driving demand for new skills in finance department 
  • 93% of CFOs find it challenging to find qualified employees
  • UK lags behind world average in many upskilling/training measures

London, 2nd August 2018 – UK businesses have to wait more than five months, on average, for new joiners to get up to speed in their jobs, according to global research by Robert Half. The study, which polled almost 5,000 CFOs in 14 countries, examined how traditional job roles are becoming more complex due to digital transformation initiatives. 

CFOs in the UK report that the key skills for finance professionals are changing. With digital transformation a priority for many organisations, there is now more focus on skills such as data analysis (cited by 43% of CFOs), financial analysis (35%), and data forecasting (34%). 

Finding the right people with these abilities is made even more challenging by the fact that businesses around the world are struggling to find qualified professionals. Almost all (93%) UK businesses find it challenging to attract qualified accounting and finance professionals. Globally, the issue is equally pronounced, with 94% of businesses also reporting similar challenges. 

This shortage of skilled candidates places even greater pressure on organisations to ensure that they select the right candidate and train them effectively to do their job – especially given the cost of bad hire. 

“Identifying the right candidate in this current war for talent means that businesses need to define what skills and qualities are required for a successful role, then focus primarily on these alongside cultural fit,” highlights Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half. “Defining the skills that can be learnt will allow businesses to expand their candidate pool and identify talent with the potential for long-term success.”

Earlier this year Robert Half UK revealed that nine in ten candidates would consider leaving a new job during their probationary period, potentially causing significant business disruption and cost. 

“Two major factors that lead new employees to consider leaving a job early include poor management and a lack of proper onboarding – including effective on-the-job training and personal development initiatives. This can be a crucial factor in ensuring that businesses hold on to their most talented new hires,” added Weston. “Training is key to ensuring that employees are productive and feel they have an incentive to advance and grow with the company.”

However, while  training and development are important factors in retaining employees – including tenured workers – a large proportion of companies still aren’t making this a priority, 

Most common training and development opportunities

External training opportunities  52%
Internal training opportunities 48%
Encourage employee memberships to professional organisations  36%
Sponsor professional qualifications and training 34%
Proactively work with industry bodies 31%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent as multiple responses permitted.

“In today’s recruitment landscape, the importance of effective recruitment and retention strategies cannot be overlooked. As skilled professionals are now in the driver’s seat of their careers, recruitment responsibilities continue long after the contract is signed,” concludes Weston


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Research methodology

This study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 5,000 finance decision-makers across 14 countries. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace. 

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, creative and administrative professionals. For more than 20 years, Robert Half has been named to FORTUNE® magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies” and offers workplace and job seeker resources at and