MORE than 85 per cent of businesses in the region anticipate increasing their number of higher-skilled roles in the coming years.

But around 60 per cent of firms fear there will be a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill the posts.

The finding – from Pearson Business School regional analysis of an education and skills survey – shows the scale of the challenge facing companies, according to the CBI.

However, the confederation's head of education and skills policy – John Cope – says there is reason for optimism.

"Businesses are deeply worried that there aren’t enough sufficiently skilled people to fill vacancies – especially at the higher end," he said.

"Yet the vast majority of firms expect to maintain or even increase their investment in staff training, as well as up the number of higher-skilled roles over the coming years.

"This is the first time since 2014 that these numbers have been so positive.

"Government, employers, the education sector and the CBI need to work together in Yorkshire and the Humber to harness the positive role companies play in supporting schools and colleges."

The survey revealed that graduate recruitment had risen, but that the implementation of an apprenticeship levy had seen a drop in the number of firms across the region offering apprenticeship programmes – from 94.9 per cent in 2017 to 77.1 per cent this year.