Businesses of all sizes are facing recruitment difficulties with a perceived skills shortage cited as an issue. It’s a global issue and, if not addressed, skills shortages will hamper the long-term performance of organizations and economies alike.
Skill shortages are costly and can hamper growth. The biggest skills shortage is being reported when hiring for junior and mid-management roles, where over half of recruiters are reporting a significant shortage. This is a legacy of the 2008 financial crisis, when graduate recruitment stalled; meaning that the number of skilled, experience people at this level is lower than it would have been in previous years.
We need to understand changing trends and to equip the workforce with the skills needed for the future.
We also need to consider long-term factors such as AI, automation and as disruptive technologies change the skills we need, it seems obvious that better planning of recruitment, training, and education will help organizations, workers, and students to make more informed workplace plans and career choices.
Upskill and retain
Addressing the issue means bringing in newly trained workers or upskilling the existing workforce, however, there is a massive shortfall in the number of apprentices in training and some enterprises are turning away work due to a shortage of skilled labor. It’s important that organizations look at their training and retention practices as retaining talent in the company will ensure continued productivity and competitiveness.
Talent management, a culture of continuous learning and clear career paths for employees are critical. Not only will such measures enable them and the organization with the skills needed, but it will help to satisfy and engage employees, which in turn enhances retention.
Retaining skilled workers will be vital for the future. Organizations which invest in employees and develop skills and talent in-house will be at an advantage in recruitment and retention. Offering effective training, good benefits and an open and collaborative working relationship with workers will aid retention of skilled workers.
Plan for the future by anticipating workforce needs and priorities. It helps if an organization can attract a diverse workforce from the widest talent pool available. For many, this will mean new ways of thinking and working in the organization. Offering secondments, stretch assignments and development opportunities where possible will both encourage ambitious individuals and may help meet specific skills gaps.
Research suggests that 70% of employers will offer flexible working by 2020 and some 21% of employees asked would accept lower pay if they were able to work fewer hours. Organizations can use flexible working arrangements to attract skilled employees who may otherwise be reluctant to enter the traditional working world.
Building links with local schools and colleges can help attract young workers into business, affording a new pool of labor. This could mean lower recruitment costs, better retention rates and bring in new ideas and connections to younger consumers. We need a network of education providers who can work closely with employers to understand needs and train a workforce that will enable organizations and industry to compete for the future.
Planned career pathways
In too many organizations the career choices of employees are ill-informed or based on partial knowledge of development and training offers and available employment opportunities. Employers should work closer with local schools, colleges and universities to educate students on potential career paths, and valuable skills they can obtain. This can also service to fuel work placements and apprenticeships to further drive the growth of a young, skilled workforce.
Organizations need to get better productivity from existing resources through education, training, making efficiencies and by exploiting new technologies and specialist consultancy services. To be successful we will need to embrace digital transformation with new skillsets and capabilities and an upskilled workforce. The key to long-term success will lie in providing our people with opportunities to transition into roles that are more skilled and rewarding.