Is a Skills Gap Keeping You from Finding Talent?

January 30, 2015 | TalentBridge News

According to recent research, 92 percent of business leaders agree that American workers are not as skilled as they need to be, in order to effectively contribute to the success of their companies.

Ouch.

To add to the current skill set dilemma faced by U.S. employers, 64 percent of those surveyed said they feel the skills gap will result in less investment in American companies. The good news: the economy is recovering. The bad news: As an employer, you still have to address the elephant in the living room … or more accurately, in your offices, cubicles and work areas. What to do about this leading competitive threat – the skills gap that continues to keep you awake at night as you seek to win top talent?

About the Gap

Current shortcomings apply to both hard and soft skills among workers. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2020, the U.S. may have 1.5 million jobs that cannot be filled due to a lack of qualified, educated workers.

  • For every unemployed STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) worker, there are two open jobs. The STEM skills gap is the reason why double the number of petitions for 2014 H-1B visas were filed within the first week of eligibility. Twenty-two percent of executives surveyed feel there is a lack of technical skills in the U.S. workforce and 12 percent feel there is a general shortage of requisite computer skills.
  • Soft skills also are lacking. In another study, nearly half of respondents said that the main gap in the U.S. workforce was soft skills. These include communications, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and leadership. Employees at all organizational levels are being asked to expand their roles, be more business savvy, and interact with broader internal and external constituencies.

Solutions for Filling the Gap

Effective workforce planning will help you to identify and address the gaps between your current and future state. This boils down to aligning your staffing and employee development strategy with your company’s goals, objectives and future vision.

  • Set a direction. Know where your company is headed. Do this by reviewing your organization’s strategic plan and then determining what will be required from a staffing standpoint.
  • Analyze your current workforce. Conduct performance evaluations and skills inventories for every job. Then design a training plan to address skills gaps.
  • Develop an action plan. Once you identify gaps, you can figure out how to close them. This include methods for measuring your ongoing success, as well as making the right decisions about recruiting, training, contracting and succession planning.
  • Implement your plan. Start by ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clearly understood by everyone involved.
  • Consider using temporary workers. In a recent study, 79 percent of U.S. employers said they were using temp workers to address critical workforce skills gaps. And 90 percent reported they were satisfied with the quality of their contractors’ work.

The right staffing partner can be among your best solutions to close the skills gaps that threaten your competitive standing. Contact the team at Talent Bridge to access the latest market intelligence and candidate databases, as well as formulate your winning strategy.