The Need To Bridge The Skill Gap In Today’s Economic Climate

August 20, 2022

One of the most talked about HR crises today is the visible gap in the number of people with the right and available skills to fill the growing vacancies caused by the great resignation. Despite having a large number of applicants apply for a job, finding someone who has the right set of skills and talent has become a challenge as most candidates are either fresh out of college or looking for a career switch. For most companies, it has become a matter of how much time and resources they are willing to spare on training and upskilling the newbies and whether their risk will be worth it. To understand how we ended up in this situation, we will need to go back to the 2000s when a phenomenon called “degree inflation” began taking shape.

The “degree inflation” began during the bubble of 2000, but it accelerated during the Great Recession of 2008, an economic crisis caused by inadequate oversight and toxic mortgage debt that crashed the housing market. During the height of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate in the United States reached a mind-numbing 10%.

There were six job seekers for every open position in October 2009. Because of this mismatch in supply and demand, organizations were persuaded to raise academic requirements for their jobs without justification. Soon, we were living in a world where students were pursuing degrees that would leave them in massive debt in order to land a job that didn't even require their level of education.

The effects of this phenomenon today show us how this degree inflation has caused such a massive talent gap at so many organizations, with its long record of vetting out talented candidates who possessed the necessary skills but lacked the necessary college education. 

While the pandemic has only served to widen the existing skills gap, many organizations are realizing that they can successfully bridge it by implementing new innovative ideas in HR hiring that can enable them to implement a more skills-based hiring strategy.

A lack of industry skills among potential employees, combined with high turnover rates, is a huge liability for any organization, and the Great Resignation has provided plenty of it.  On the one hand, organizations complain about finding talented employees, while on the other, they frequently fail to work to retain existing talent effectively.

Employee turnover is largely caused by large groups of dissatisfied workers who do not believe they have enough opportunities for advancement in their jobs. One of the primary factors influencing turnover is a lack of growth and progression. 

According to a Gallup poll, 87 percent of millennials consider opportunities for growth and development to be one of the most important factors in job satisfaction and approximately 70% of professionals from other generations agreed. So, how do companies go about addressing the skill gap to attract and retain talent?

Addressing The Skill Gap

The first step to bridging the skill gap is identifying the weak links between your organization and the problem areas. A McKinsey Global Survey on future labor requirements found that nearly nine of ten executives and managers say their companies are experiencing or expect to experience skill shortages in the next five years. To close such a gap, organizations must first conduct a talent gap analysis, rethink recruitment strategies, develop reskilling and upskilling programs, and implement mentoring programs. 

Have an open conversation with your employees about the areas in which they lack expertise or the task with which they struggle. This will give you a fair understanding of the areas where your employees need assistance. You will now be able to take a call on whether upskilling is the way to go or hiring and what is the specific need and skill for the hire. This way you will be able to solve the skill gap problem and have a clearer idea of who to hire. 

It may be as simple as reinforcing the value of learning and developing long-term employee development systems to address talent shortages. Millennial employees place a greater emphasis on growth and development, which can be attributed to their life stage. According to Gallup, one of the top three factors in retaining millennials is "opportunities to learn and grow," and it is the only aspect of retention that distinguishes millennials' needs from those of non-millennials.

When an organization's leadership prioritizes learning and growth for their employees, the organization benefits in the form of more productive employees, improved employee morale, and an openness to feedback and learning. HR professionals must establish and maintain an effective culture in the best interests of the organization. Organizational culture should be developed in such a way that it promotes talent retention, development, and growth.

Employee Volunteering Can Help With Retention

Let us take a moment to understand something critical: talent gaps exist largely because of differences in who has access to these learning opportunities. Covid-19 only aggravated the situation by interfering with workers' ability to enhance their skills. Organizations must try to upskill their employees and can use their upskilling program as a talent management strategy by proactively promoting personal development.

According to recent statistics, the value of losing an employee can range anywhere from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary. As trying as it is to go through the hiring process, taking active measures to retain existing ones and giving your employees the opportunities they are looking for at your organization will discourage them from seeking jobs elsewhere.

To Conclude

A skill-based volunteering program for your employees can help them develop a diverse range of skills while putting their newfound knowledge to good use. Employee volunteering programs can be integrated as part of your company’s upskilling programs. By engaging your staff in community giving, you will be encouraging and supporting their holistic growth, thus, they will want to continue working at your organization. 

Chezuba is a platform that sources virtual skill-based volunteering projects for your employees to contribute their skills. With over 7000 nonprofit partners, a plethora of skills to choose from, and an all-inclusive dashboard to monitor your program, Chezuba is the best online corporate volunteering platform. Book a free demo to learn how Chezuba can transform the lives of your employees.

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