Skills Gap: What is it?
Every day, Americans are placed in positions where they are under qualified in various types of skills. There is an empty void in the relationship between the skills job seekers have and the skills employers need. This is called the skills gap.
A recent survey by ASA Workforce Monitor showed that 50% of U.S. adults are unaware of the term “skills gap.” Once the term was defined, 28% stated that they knew someone who had been affected by the skills gap and 14% had been affected personally.
The skills gap often negatively affects job seekers in the following ways:
- Few job openings exist for the skills they have
- They don’t possess the right skills for desired jobs
- They have to get supplementary training to keep or get a job
A report by the Manufacturing Institute found that nearly 3.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will open over the next decade, but the skills gap will leave 2 million of those jobs vacant.
“The gap between workers’ skills and those needed by employers is a key reason for why millions of individuals are unemployed despite millions of open jobs,” Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer.
Who is responsible for the skills gap?
There is an education issue resulting in a mismatch between the skills taught in the U.S. and labor pressure in the job market. From a continuation of the ASA Workforce Monitor survey, nine out of 10 Americans believe high schools and colleges need to do more to develop employable graduates. Students need to be learning skills that directly meet the needs of 21st century jobs and that can be executed immediately after graduation.
Another factor widening the skills gap is technology. The workplace environment is rapidly changing and technology is constantly outpacing worker’s knowledge. New technologies require a specific set of skills that schools, often times, don’t teach. Companies are struggling to find workers who are equipped with the skills to use the new technologies or that can adapt quick enough to make the most of the new technology.
Businesses who do not offer skills trainings are setting themselves up for failure. Trainings and development programs are necessary to keep employees engaged and up to date on their skills and knowledge within the company and industry.
How to bridge the gap?
- Keep In Touch With the Educators: Employers and human resources representatives should report to the education system the skills they are looking for in their employees. This communication will provide teachers and professors with specific objectives to teach students in order for them to successfully enter the workforce.
- Internal Training Programs: All businesses should offer some sort of skills training for their employees. These trainings can improve employee knowledge on the services the company provides and technology the company uses.
- Self-Reflection and Self-Training: Individuals have a personal responsibility to continually update their skills that way they can keep up with the ever-changing labor force. Take an online course, participate in free trainings, read a book about a relevant industry, get a certification, attend a work-related conference, etc., these are all ways that job seekers and employees can refresh their skills to have a competitive edge in the job environment.
Let us help:
There is a clear correlation between training and skills, so this is an opportunity for staffing and recruiting agencies to step in and help companies effectively and quickly place candidates in the correct positions after a careful analysis of the skills they possess.
Recruiters are trained to look beyond the resume when making a hiring decision. They have learned to analyze candidate’s traits beyond what is written on paper: personality, attitude, punctuality, communication, etc. They know how to properly place a candidate in the right position based on their provided soft and hard skills.
The recruiters of Anderson and Associates Recruitment and Staffing are able to identify the specific needs of a client (employer) and the positions they are looking to fill and carefully compare those to the hundreds of candidates in our robust database. Ultimately, one of our recruiters will strategically narrow down a handful of potential candidates that can meet the needs of the client so there isn’t a skills gap restraint.