The UK economy is back on track but George Osborne could face a skills shortage (Reuters)

The UK is facing an emerging skills shortage which could derail the nation's economic recovery, according to research by recruitment firm Hays.

The Hays Global Skills Index 2013, which analysed education levels, labour market flexibility and high-skill wage pressures across 30 major global economies, revealed that only Spain, Portugal and Ireland in Europe suffer a greater talent mismatch than the UK.

The report argued that the UK talent mismatch problems have been exacerbated over the past year as opportunities are being created but the necessary skilled resources are unavailable.

Industries such as oil and gas, energy, IT and construction, where niche skills are in increasingly high demand, are particularly affected by the phenomenon.

The UK received an overall score of 5.2 out of 10 from the research, which indicates that the country is fairing worse than the average 5 point marker.

In particular, the nation also scored a troubling 9 out of 10 points for the report's talent mismatch category [Fig 1].

UK profile
Fig 1 (Hays info-graphic: UK country profile 2013)

The research called for the government to review its immigration policies in order to make them "more geared towards attracting skilled workers that are in short supply locally", and suggested that education policy must be aligned "far more closely with the needs of businesses" in the long term.

This also means motivating students towards the education required to meet the demands of industry, easing the transition for students into employment and ensuring the widest possible group of skilled workers across all generations are participating in the labour market.

"Too many skilled jobs are now going unfilled because the right skills are in increasingly short supply," said Hays' chief executive Alistair Cox.

He added: "This makes a real dent on a company's ability to grow and constrains the UK's economic prospects at a time when we need to be encouraging a sustained recovery."