Some call it the Skill Shortage, some call it the Talent Gap. Whatever you want to call the tough hiring conditions effecting employers across the country, it’s clear to see that many companies are feeling the pain. With the cost of higher education on the rise, there numbers of newly minted professionals simply can’t keep up with the demand for hard skills from employers. On top of that, about half of the employers in this country don’t even think that new grads are even qualified for positions at their companies. If your company or department is at a stand still for lack of a particular skill, then you should make acquiring that skill (either through hiring or training) as soon as you can.
“But we’ve been doing just fine with the people we have,” you might say. “Who even says that we’re in a talent shortage anyway?” To this, however, I’d say that an effective talent acquisition strategy is like a fire extinguisher: you don’t really need it…until you really need it! Your company might have all of the hard skills present in your staff to continue business as usual, what about the future? How hard would you be hit by one of your hard-skill-baring A-Players jumping ship to work with a competitor? Are all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak? Though you might be okay for now, you must remember that, in today’s competitive talent marketplace, your top performers may be being approached by competitors and recruiters on a regular basis. Because of this fact, it’s important to make sure that the skills of your top performers permeate through the rest of your staff.
So, how bad is the talent gap? Well, according to a survey from Manpower Groups, 40% of employers in the US report having difficulty filling open positions. The top reasons that these businesses site for their difficulties are: a “lack of technical competencies (hard skills),” followed by a “lack of workplace competencies (soft skills)” and a “lack of available applicants.” Further, 56% of the respondents to this survey said that “the talent shortage has a medium to high impact on their ability to meet client needs.”
In order to ensure the continuing efficacy of your employees, it’s important to invest in developing the skills of your most promising employees. Instead of spending weeks or months looking for a hire with a specific skills set, why not re-allocate those resources into training an employee in that skill set? Though they may not have the technical know-how to help your business at the moment, getting your best and brightest employees up to speed with a new hard skill will help your company immensely in the long run. Not only will they be very grateful toward the people that invested in their professional development, but these employees will be able to step up when one of your A-Players leaves your company. Though there may be a talent shortage on the market, developing the skills of your employees can meet the expanding technical demands of your company and your industry.