“Not meeting the skills needs of employers could lead to a loss of £120 billion in economic output by 2030.” Education Technology
The skills gap might be something we’re all used to hearing about, but it’s not going anywhere and it’s hindering businesses growth and could threaten economic output. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, stated that “Skills gaps are the number one focus for talent developers.” Businesses who do not have the skills that they need to operate at full capacity are stalled from growth; we work with these organisations to drive business growth through our three pillars Learn, Engage, Discover. So we’re asking, how has the skills gap matured to the issue it is today and how can we bridge it?
The rapid development of technology and software paired with an ageing population has created a situation where those already in the workplace are staying in employment for longer, with skills that are increasingly outdated if not upskilled. Meanwhile, those emerging from education are not entering the workplace quickly enough, so that by the time they reach employment, their knowledge too can be quickly outdated. Ultimately we’re not able to skill our employees quickly enough to keep up with demand.
The idea that technology is stealing all the jobs is not a reality. What is happening is that technology is automating some roles but also creating many more, however many of these new roles haven’t necessarily had the courses and training available for long enough for those entering the workplace. In short, the alignment and focus of in-demand skills has changed.
The Government report, ‘No Longer Optional: Employer Demand for Digital Skills’, details that, no matter what level of skill a role requires, over 75% of job roles require digital skills of some kind. Their 5 key findings of this report were:
- Digital skills are near-universal requirements
- Digital skills carry a wage differential
- Digital skills are in demand everywhere
- Specific digital skills may help workers avoid the risk of automation
- Specific digital skills promote career progression
For businesses, this digital skills shortage has often meant increasing salaries to attract the level of talent they require. It also means that those businesses lacking in digital skills are being left behind by their digitally skilled competitors, experiencing much slower business growth.
While the extensive and swift development of all things digital continues, this is going to continue to be an issue; businesses need to adapt, long term, so how can you bridge the skills gap in your organisation?
Don’t Underestimate The Older Generation
Older generations are staying in the workplace for longer is a contributing factor to skills gaps occurring. However, the ageing workforce should not become one of your problems; utilise what you have. The older generation are perhaps unskilled in some areas which have developed around them but they are still valuable assets to the business. Upskilling, training and learning more about their skill sets can help you to equip them with the digital skills they need to be more effective in their current role, and ensure that you don’t lose out on their insights from years in the industry. In 2019 E&T (Engineering & Technology) reported that around two-thirds of companies struggle to fill vacant jobs which require digital skills. Alternatively, older members of the team can be, with a full understanding of their skillset, repositioned in a role which best suits the skills they already have. This allows for better streamlining of teams and room for more digitally ready employees to take on the heavily digital roles, whilst not losing their knowledge in other areas. With this better understanding and management of the existing skills an organisation possesses, the sourcing of new recruits to fill digital skills gaps can be attained more effectively. The ageing population brings the workplace more experience and this should not be underrated, only better managed.
Communication and Analysis
We believe that most problems can be at least alleviated, if not fixed, with the application of better communication. Conversing with all employees and departments can present you with the information you need to evaluate exactly where skills are lacking, and which skills are needed where. Discussing your intentions with your employees from day one will allow them to be much more open and honest about where they feel their skills may be lacking and the kind of training they feel they would benefit from, rather than fearing they may be let go or replaced.
Arrange to knuckle down and monitor each department’s performance to acknowledge where efficiency or quality are lower and drill down to discover why and which individuals or even whole departments are in need of what training in which areas.
This initial overhaul may be a large task in the short term, however, you can then begin to offer regular upskilling opportunities, avoiding this happening again and ultimately bridging the skills gap in your company in the long term .
Regular Upskilling Opportunities
All businesses will benefit from training and upskilling opportunities but these need to be continuous in order to eradicate the effects of the skills gap in your business. From the hiring of new recruits to the veterans of the company, there are always skills both digital and otherwise, which can aid overall business success. At Chesamel, we champion learning and the benefits that come with it, providing a vast range of learning experiences for organisations who want to scale and drive business success. Upskilling is not only good for the development of your teams but also something which employees increasingly look for in an employer. In 2019, Amazon led by example, launching a $700 million upskilling initiative, looking to give their workers the opportunity to move one or two rungs up the ladder and become more digitally skilled. It’s also worth noting that there was a generous amount of planning that went into this initiative before it was implemented, so we would advise that you do communicate and analyse before jumping into your training options!
Looking internally for the answers to your organisation’s skills gap allows you to make the most of the skills you already possess, digital or otherwise, and to make informed decisions on where upskilling is really needed. With this efficient management of people, when a need for new digital talent to bridge the skills gap is identified, the need will be more specific. In terms of both learning opportunities, training and talent acquisition, Chesamel has the experience to assist and help you drive your business and teams forward to success. If you think you could benefit from our expertise in talent discovery or in learning and opportunities you can get in touch here.