Competitors? Technology? Change? Wrong. It’s skill gap. As the economy braces to recover, leaders across the corporate world are waking up to an unsavoury reality: They’re short of talent.
Think about the survey conducted by Careerbuilder’s Harris Poll, who pop’ed the question to a pan-American bunch of corporate leaders : So what’s the one workplace contingency that’s keeping you up at 3am? Most answered along the same lines – the gap in skills on their rolls. What they have, and what the need, are separated by a chasm that’s woefully large.
Amongst the many reasons is an ageing workforce. The experienced brigade is making way for millennials, who lack the right skills required to fill the chairs.
It’s a costly problem, because the same survey also tells us that one in six companies loses $25,000 or more per vacant position, or extended vacancy.
When you think of it in the context of an economy that’s slated to be recovering, the fact that companies can’t find workers can sound a bit confounding. However, as Harvard Business Review’s James Bessen clarifies, it’s not that there’s a shortage of candidates. Just candidates with the skills needed at that particular point in time.
Interestingly, it’s not always a case of the absence of degrees or education. Sometimes, it can be the reverse, too. There are plenty of cases of candidates who are ‘over-qualified’ for the job. The challenge there is lack of practical experience, or a comfort with emerging technologies, neither of which, as it turns out, colleges equip students with.
First, we must acknowledge that an underprepared workforce isn’t just a recruiter’s or a HR department’s problem, it’s everyone’s. It affects the nation, disturbs families, and should bother training institutes. And since we are all affected by the crisis, we all have an equal stake in a solution as well. The answer, therefore, has to come from everywhere.
Here’s a 411 that can work :
- Colleges have to make their curriculum more job-ready and incorporate more industrial exposures via partnerships with corporates.
- Companies must up the ante when it comes to their on-job training – from boosting professional development modules to incorporating executive education programs for the benefit of employees.
- Pair fresh and experienced employees to create mutual bonding and learning opportunities.
- Conduct lunchtime learning sessions on specific topics and themes such as latest industry trends or a new technology.
- Subscribe to relevant trade and industry publications and ensure that these resources reach every member of the staff.
- Encourage and open avenues of on-going learning for staff.
Bridge the skill and jump the gap, seems to be the call of the hour. And no, it’s no longer a luxury. If you wish to stay a step ahead of the game, it’s the first thing you need to do.