Ageing workforce threat to cultural heritage sector

Creative & Cultural Skills, in partnership with English Heritage and with additional support from the Sector Priorities Fund Pilot, published a new report today on the serious skills issues faced by the historic environment and cultural heritage sector.

The report, entitled ‘The Historic Environment and Cultural Heritage Skills Survey’ is based on the outcomes of survey data collected by Qa Research with over 1,000 organisations within the sector in order to provide a detailed understanding of some of the critical skills issues facing their workforce.

 The report’s key findings include:

  • Skills gaps – 42% of the workforce feel that there are gaps within their current workforce, meaning staff are not fully equipped to undertake their roles. The impact is significant, 31% of these organisations are falling below capacity in their work, 25% are experiencing a disrupted workflow and a fifth of organisations believe that this is causing larger workloads to be placed on other members of staff.
  • Rectifying the situation is set to be difficult for the sector, as 60% of organisations indicate that they do not have a training budget, and the majority of training that is delivered in the sector is informal and on-the-job.
  • Almost half of those surveyed believe that skills will be lost without replacement due to retirement, and 56% of these organisations felt this was set to happen within the next five years.

The report, which is the first to examine the heritage and historic environment sector points to a number of potential solutions which should be implemented by organisations within the sector, including stronger succession planning for businesses, the implementation of joint working practices across the sector, and a focus on identifying and nurturing specialist skills in sub-sectors such as archaeology and conservation, which are shown to be lacking.

This research was led by TBR, in association with Qa Research, Landward Research and Pomegranate Seeds.

The full report can be downloaded here:

For more information contact or call 01904 632039