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WORKFORCE PLANNING | BRIDGING THE SKILLS GAP

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Posted by Rob Zawatski

August 4, 2014

The phrase “skills gap” has been thrown around a lot lately. Now, for those of you who don’t own a big book of popular workforce planning jargon definitions, basically we are talking about the idea that even though there are a lot of people unemployed; jobs are going unfilled because workers don’t have the appropriate skills to fill the positions.

We could go back and forth all day about who’s to blame for the workforce deficit: Schools, Politicians, Super Mario. At the end of the day, were better off leaving the blame game to the talking heads on the 24 hour cable T.V. news networks. What really matters are those unfilled jobs and the unfinished work that’s costing your company time and money, while your competition is moving past you.

Who's Sweating the Skills Gap 

 
Skills_Gap_Graph

The Problem

According to the PWC 2014 CEO Survey 63% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of skilled workers. 93% recognize the need to change their strategy for attracting talent, but 61% haven’t begun to take the first step in doing so. So, if you know you have a problem, and you’re not doing anything to solve it, how can you realistically expect to change your results?

The Fear

A recent CareerBuilder survey on the Skills Gap found that companies who offer greater training opportunities as part of their workforce plan get more job applicants. That seems like a no brainer. People want the opportunity to be better. Some people believe employers fear giving their employees more training, or rather more marketable skills, because the more skills an employee acquires the more likely they are to leave their job for a better opportunity. Some people believe there is going to be a zombie apocalypse too. I don’t know if they’re right or wrong, but I’m not placing any bets on either theory. And I believe in plenty of different conspiracies. I grew up watching the X-Files.

The Solution

I titled this section of this article “The Solution” because the words have authority and I like to pontificate. The truth is I don’t have one hard fast answer that would fix the overall job market. I’m not sure anybody does. But, I do know you want to hire somebody who can hit the ground running and be able to perform the job you need them to do, not somebody who needs to be trained to do the job someday. Even if you are willing to hire somebody who is bright and eager I know you don’t have the time to train them, unlearn their bad habits. I don’t believe companies aren’t investing in training out of fear, but I do think time and money significant obstacles. No matter how badly you want it, you don’t have the time to wait for your company to reinvent their training program. The reality is you don’t even have the time to go through all those resumes sitting on your desk, just to discover you spent the last three hours looking at people who aren’t qualified.

Oh, job seekers your part of this too. The skills gap doesn’t just apply to the people on the other side of the desk. You need to be part of the solution. If you’re not getting the training you want or need in order to take your career to the places you want to go than you need to take your future into your own hands. Find a training program, enroll in a class, read a book, get a certification. The world is full of opportunities. Sometimes you have to seek them out. I’m not suggesting you run out and spend a ton of money either. If you don’t have the skills to get the job you want look into volunteer opportunities that might provide you with some extra education.

Bridge the gap. Take our anonymous Skills Gap Survey

This blog was written by Rob Zawatski. Rob is from Buffalo, NY and currently lives in a suburb of Philadelphia. A jack of all trades, he has spent the last 6 years working in the staffing industry.

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