Depending on which online resources you read, the skills gap is either real or it isn’t. At Wranx, we’re of the belief that the skills gap, a term used to describe the disparity between those who are unemployed looking for a job and organisations with jobs that can’t find skilled candidates to fill them, is very real, and that it’s something organisations need to overcome in order to solve the biggest organisational challenge of the 21st-century; filling open positions with suitably qualified and skilled employees.
According to last year’s Talent Shortage Survey conducted by the Manpower Group, 35% of 38,000 employees reported some difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of knowledge, skills, and talent. So, closing the skills gap is something organisations should work on immediately.
But how should they go about it? A quick search online will reveal plenty of stories about the skills gap with US-based figures and examples to back them up, but there’s few UK-focused articles that discuss the skills gap and what organisations can do to close it.
So, here’s our thoughts.
If you’re looking for ways to close the skills gap, the answer to all of your problems might be more obvious than you think; learning and training. A culture of learning should be integral to your organisation as it is, not just because an organisation’s culture is the one thing that stands between an organisation’s results, but because suitable learning and training gives you a huge level of flexibility when it comes to filling those vacant job roles that are stacking up with human resources.
Imagine, for example, that your organisation has a marketing department and that you have a vacant position for a marketing assistant.
Chances are, you want to fill that position with a graduate with a suitable degree, but you also require specific skills that can only be gained from experience, such as SEO, copywriting, inbound, split testing websites, etc. The only way around this, without learning and training, is to employ an experienced worker who will a) cost more and b) probably be older. With learning and training, you can take on whoever you choose and close the skills gap with new employees.
The reality of recruitment though is that there’s no such thing as the perfect employee. All we can do as an organisation is have a culture of learning from the employment stage and do the best we can for new employees to help them excel within the organisation with a road-map to advancement.
It’s also important to consider that while some people believe that UK unemployment rates are due to a lack of skills, there’s no major link between the supply of skilled workers and today’s unemployment. This creates confusion among those who try to pinpoint why the skills gap needs to be addressed quickly, but the fact is that an organisation will benefit in the long-term from learning and development initiatives that benefit new employees and promote a culture of learning and development.
Image by: Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research University Network – CC BY 2.0