What is a ‘Skills Gap’? and How you as an employer can help solve this?
Posted on 17th June 2019 at 14:23
A skills gap is the difference between skills that employers want or need, and skills their workforce offer. As an employer, you will be aware of your own organisation’s current situation. Do you feel your staff are fully equipped to do carry out their roles to the best of their ability or are there some skills needed that are lacking which are preventing your team from driving the business forward?
When you recruit young staff, does your eye skim down the application or CV in the vain hope of spotting those essential skills you are looking for? Are your new young recruits equipped to fill your vacancies? Has the degree or the qualification that your candidate has done prepared them for your opportunities? If not, is there something you could do as an employer to get your staff all on the same page.
Providing in house training and outside courses for new and existing employees, Yes, they have qualifications under their belt, but young people and graduates are far from being the finished article when they apply for your roles. And yes, your current employees have experience at that role, but they are eager to learn more; not just specifically about their role but their industry as a whole.
Continuous investment in staff can keep skills right up to date. In house training, practical assistance and external courses can really help your graduate recruits to excel and also keep their motivation levels topped up because they know you are investing in them.
We all know that the pace of changes in technology in any workplace can be mesmerising and this can change, if not completely cancel out, the need for some roles in an organisation. In order for a business to continue to compete and succeed, it makes sense to have staff who can adapt and keep their skills up to date whilst in their roles. Courses and other forms of training are an ideal way to help solve this.
Offering apprenticeships to school leavers, who are not taking the university route, there is option for employers to invest in young people, get them into the workplace and encourage them to excel. Offering Apprenticeship programmes is a great way to benefit young people and your business and to start addressing the bridging of the skills gap.
If you have considered offering apprenticeships in the past but, after having looked at the framework for your trade or profession, decided that Apprenticeship seemed to long winded – too much paperwork and pathways that perhaps might not be directly relevant to your workplace – it might be worth taking another look. Don’t forget, there is funding available for Apprenticeships so you shouldn’t lose out financially.
Addressing regional issues, as an employer, depending on where your organisation is based, you might be aware of a skills shortage in your area because you lose all the area’s best talent to regions that can offer better salaries or a more attractive lifestyle. Regeneration in many towns and cities has helped to address this but for many areas, much more needs to be done if companies can successfully tackle their skills shortage. Some towns and cities in the UK are trying to address this with collaborative projects between councils, schools and employers, it could be worth looking into it for your area.
Of course, there is no one person or body to blame for the existence of the skills shortage in the UK. While there are many theories about how best to address it, the constant through all of this is that collaboration and discussion between different bodies is absolutely key. A skills shortage affects not only individual companies but also the future success of the British economy.
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