Exploring the Skills Gap Issue, and How Best to Deal with it.

If you’ve been in the recruitment, education or economic developmentsector for any length of time; you would have no doubt heard the term ‘skills gap’. This term has been parroted by various sources a lot these past years, but in the era and beyond of Covid-19, this gap will change dramatically.  

The creation of the skills gap

We’re living in an ever-expanding world of technology. The innovation we’re experiencing with factors such as computing and networking, are driving us forward within technology at an accelerated rate. Although these innovations are fantastic for broadening our horizons; we’re finding ourselves within a crux in recruitment. As new technologies are being created, and old ones being improved; we find our general workforce struggling to keep up with the skills needed for these technologies. Whereas many businesses want to capitalise on this, this has created what’s known as a skills gap. But how do we best rectify this situation, and how can we prevent it in the future? 

What is the skills gap?

So, what exactly is a skills gap? In a basic definition, a skills gap is when the skills that an employee possesses don’t match what the employer needs. This can go both ways; wherein an employee either doesn’t have enough skills for the required job, or they’re too skilled, but the company doesn’t have a position to fully utilise them. This can create these so-called gaps. These gaps means that the company isn’t meeting its potential maximum efficiency, which in turn means the company wouldn’t be bringing in as much revenue as it could be. In turn, it also means that any potential job seekers will have a tough time finding a well-suited job, due to them missing these skills. 

Skills gap aren’t always necessarily created from boosts in our technological capabilities. They can be created from a lack of targeted education or training in certain areas. Studies have found that the vast majority of graduates, don’t find themselves in a job related to their degree. This can be down to there not being enough jobs in their related field, or their particular skill set isn’t valuable to many employers. This will then cause these dedicated skills to not be fully utilised, and wrongly placed and wasted. 

It’s worth noting that there will always be a small skill gap in the marketplace. As the general population becomes better educated and skilful; the companies will still want to find the best of these. So, they’ll increase the requirements for their jobs. Requirements for certain jobs will always be higher than what the average person has, as the companies don’t want average. 

How it affects your company

On top of not reaching peak efficiency within your company; the skills gap can even cause many companies to lose revenue. This is through the costs of sending employees through relevant training courses, or through longer and more rigorous recruitment avenues to find the right candidates. The Open University Business Barometer released a report, detailing that 6.33 billion pounds are lost in businesses nationwide, due to the skills gap. As the skills gaps will widen, this astronomical figure would only go up. 

What can we do against it?

So how do we shorten this skill gap? What’s the best process? If you’re wanting to shorten the skills gap internally within your company, you’ll first have to gather some data. For any results driven roles, this is relatively simple by putting in, or using pre-existing KPIs. If any of your employees are struggling to hit their KPIs, it suggests there may be specific skills they’re lacking. From there you can look at up-skilling the employee to build up these lacking skills. 

Another angle for employees to take, would be to consider a career transition to a career that works better with their skills. That way their skills are being utilised and they’re filling a gap that company may have. If a career transition is something that might be of interest to you, we have written about it in our blog here Career Transition: Turning a New Leaf in your Career 

Using imployable to combat the skills gap

Our app features many opportunities to gain skills that you, or your employees may lack. Through either training, volunteering, or apprenticeship opportunities. Many of these are completely free to apply for as well, whilst also requiring only a few hours to complete. It’s a great way to build up specific skill sets to try to fill any gaps that may be present within your company. 

Our company has also been busy this past year, developing a new state of the art technology called VisumVisum is built around the analytics around live labour market data. One feature of it being a geographic skills analysis, wherein the technology analyses skill levels within any part of the UK. This will prove to be very useful when attempting to bridge the skills gap. If you would like to know more information, you can it here within our website. 

What your company can do against the skills gap

In summary, the skills gap is a very real and damaging concept to our economy. However, there are steps we can take to minimise this gap, and increase efficiency within our own companies. 

Be sure to capitalise on any affordable training opportunities 

Some of your employee’s strength may be better utilised within other roles within your company. However, they may need to small push with training, to kickstart their progress of gaining these skills. As mentioned before, we feature many free training opportunities within our app, so be sure to consider that. 

Foster an environment where upskilling is applauded 

Some encouragement can go a long way when attempting to upskill and learn new traits. Sometimes an employee’s morale can dip when faced with a difficult task or subject, and a small word of praise and acknowledgement would normally be enough to keep them progressing. However, when these are neglected, the employee can lose all motivation and give up. Thus, causing the skills gap to remain open. 

Take note of moments where any employee’s flourish within a task, and consider them elsewhere within the company 

Keeping an eye on your employees when faced with tasks out of their comfort zones, can be a great indicator on their best strengths and weaknesses. After witnessing them work for a while; you should have a good indicator as to whether their role is best utilising their skillset. If not, then it might be beneficial to open up communication with them. You can let them know your thoughts and see whether they would prefer to work in another role that would suit them more. Ultimately, they should be the one to decide though. If they decide not to move position, then you can only look at finding them relevant training opportunities to build up any skills they may be missing. 

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