Here’s what employers are doing to fill skills gaps that keep them from finding qualified job candidates.
In a recent survey of HR professionals, 83% said they have had trouble recruiting suitable job candidates in the past year; and 75% said that part of the problem is related to skills gaps. Over half said this concern has worsened in the past two years. Skills most lacking, the survey suggested, are in the medical, science, engineering, and data analysis fields.
Thirty-five percent (35%) of respondents said that candidates don’t have the right technical skills for job openings, while 30% said applicants don’t have the right soft skills (such as problem solving, critical thinking, the ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, and communication). About a third of respondents said that candidates don’t have necessary work experience. Even when they could find good candidates, 43% of respondents said that competition from other employers was an issue. Just over 30% of HR professionals said that a low number of applicants or lack of interest by job seekers in the organization makes filling positions more difficult.
Looking to fill these skills gaps, HR leaders said the most effective solutions include offering onsite and offsite training through seminars and workshops; starting/expanding training programs to help improve new hires’ skills; hiring external workers (such as temps or independent contractors); increasing compensation; and improving retention efforts for current employees. Survey respondents identified other commonly used remedies such as expanding advertising via social media and collaborating with educational institutions to build talent pipelines. Some employers, according to survey results, are looking to alternative sources for new workers, such as veterans, retirees, and skilled individuals in other countries.
Half of HR professionals said that education systems have done little or nothing to help address skills shortages. Particularly, respondents said that job candidates lack skills such as professionalism, business acumen, critical thinking, and lifelong learning.