Horticulture skills gap survey

A major survey investigating the future skills needs within UK ornamental horticulture is underway, with more than 300 businesses already providing insight about the potential training and resource gaps for the £24 billion sector.

The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), a key stakeholder of the Ornamental Horticulture Sector group who commissioned the study, continues to promote the survey to its extensive membership network, providing some of the UK’s leading landscape companies with a voice on the current skills crisis.

Future skills needs

The Ornamental Horticulture Sector stakeholder group is seeking to investigate the future skills needs of the Ornamental Horticulture sector, in terms of key skills and the requirements and challenges facing the sector in the future (including scenarios and implications for future workforce change).

BALI’s Chief Executive Wayne Grills says: “Results from this survey will help equip the sector with real-time knowledge of the issue, in turn, informing a skills strategy which will be tailored to the industry’s needs, which will go a long way in securing vital funding and resource.”

According to a recent report by Oxford Economics, the UK Ornamental sector supported 568,700 jobs in 2017, amounting to 1.6% of total UK employment.

Driver for UK economy

Wayne continues, The Ornamental sector is a vital driver for the UK’s economy, particularly the landscape services industry which generated £11.6bn, almost 50% of the total £24bn value, in 2017. This study will allow us to compare findings from the initial economic report to see just how underfunded and potentially under-equipped we are as an industry. The results from this survey will also equip us with the necessary data to take to Government where BALI will be looking for action.”

Pye Tait Consulting, who has been commissioned by the group to carry out the research, has been tasked with contacting a minimum of 1,000 UK-based businesses between now and June. The survey will build on an initial pilot project carried out in 2018. The 2019 survey is seeking the views of those working in and across the ornamental horticulture sub-sectors, including landscape design and maintenance services.

It will be conducted by telephone, giving businesses the opportunity to provide their view on skills developments in the foreseeable future, their workforce needs, the impact of automation, training needs and requirements, and other topics to inform a skills strategy tailored to the sector. In addition, interviews and dedicated workshops for business stakeholders are planned this month and further into June to better inform the research.

Case to lobby government

Results from the survey will help equip the sector in making the case for lobbying government, requests for funding, informing migratory advisory committee consultations and insight about the demand for, and gaps within, training in the horticulture sector.
If you would like further information or wish to participate please contact Michael Oberreuter on (0)1423 509433 or via email

Alternatively, you can take part online by visiting this website

If you would like to speak to a member of the BALI team at Landscape House, call (0)24 7669 0333 or contact us via email.

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