Companies can’t find the right talent with the right skills at the right time; and it’s hurting growth and innovation.
Rapidly changing technology and lack of qualified job candidates have led the skills gap to jump from 52% in 2018 to 64% in 2019, according to a new report, “Closing the Skills Gap 2019.” Nearly half (44%) of employers surveyed say that it is more difficult than ever to fill the skills gap, and 42% say it makes their company less efficient.
Among other findings in the report:
- 37% of employers cite rapid tech changes as the most predominant cause of skills gaps, followed by the lack of skilled talent able to move into positions with greater responsibility (31%) and lack of qualified candidates (30%).
- Nearly half (40%) of survey respondents say that a skill is only usable for four years or less. Obsolescence increases the need for employers to hire or upskill workers as gaps appear or widen.
- While 68% of employers say they use a degree to validate hard skills, 90% say they would hire someone without a four-year college degree if they can demonstrate the ability to do the job.
- Over half (52%) of employers say they use tuition reimbursement for upskilling, and 88% cover at least part of upskilling costs.
- While 68% of employers say they communicate the value of upskilling, only 48% spend more than $500 per employee annually on upskilling/continuing education.
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of employers say they have collaborated with schools in the past three years to encourage curriculum that is more responsive to workforce needs. This represents a 14% increase over 2018.
- Over half (61%) of employers say they often offer jobs to military veterans, and 46% frequently offer positions to non-Americans.
- Nearly half (40%) of employers say they prefer to invest in artificial intelligence than upskilling, an 11% increase over last year. Nearly half say they would rather hire gig workers than full-time staffers, up from 38% in 2018.
“The skills gap continues to get wider with more than seven million unfilled jobs in America. Companies can’t find the right talent with the right skills at the right time; and it’s preventing them from growth,” said Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace and one of the study’s authors. As a result, he said, while employers “might have had a singular focus on a specific type of candidate in the past, that’s changed out of necessity. They are open to hiring candidates, such as retirees and veterans, because it expands their talent pool.”