If not a crisis, there is certainly a deep problem felt both by employers and employees in workplace skill shortages.
More than two out of three employers are being affected by a shortage of skilled workers. And in a largescale survey, three out of five employers and workers believed that shortages were hitting productivity. Further, nearly a third were concerned that business development plans were being scuppered.
So what is happening? Why aren’t employers recognising skill shortages in their companies? It could be that managers are stuck in the mindset of ‘I hired the right person for the right job, so why are they not performing?’ They will feel that they have a failsafe screening process, followed the best practices and taken on the right person. Why, therefore – they might ask – is productivity lower than expected?
Skill shortages can be identified by conducting an anonymous survey of employees. In it they can be asked if they feel they have the right tools to help them do their work effectively and if they might benefit from additional training. The responses can help employers recognise what needs to be changed in terms of training and in their hiring process. The skill gap may be closed by providing new development opportunities and/or improving leadership skills throughout the organisation.
Companies should take a look at who they employ. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not only ethically desirable but engenders innovation in an organisation. Employing people of different backgrounds creates what is termed a ‘positive tension’. It sparks different conversations and ideas and these lead to more leftfield thinking and innovation. The stats bear this out. A study of UK and American companies found that gender-diverse companies were 15% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile of diversity. And that ethnically diverse companies showed even more improvement. These were 35% more likely to outperform those same companies.
It’s not as straightforward as hiring the right hands. The changing climate of the workplace is also the basis for the skills gap struggle. The skills businesses need change frequently.
It makes sense from a client perspective to recognise the shifting sands and that it can be highly profitable to bring in people who are either impressively qualified in their field or who have highly demonstrable skillsets that can be harnessed to mould them into a changing role.
We as a recruitment company feel we are highly tuned to identifying the right person for the role. So, if you feel like you have skill shortages in your organisation, we’d love to hear from you and see how we can help.