August 4, 2021
Acquiring top talent and placing qualified candidates into the right positions in your organisation is hard enough in the best of times, but what happens when your business desperately needs to do just that during the final stages of a pandemic and in the middle of an already short skilled labour market?
UK employers reported that one in four (24%) of all hard-to-fill vacancies were due to skills shortages, an increase of two percentage points since 2017. What is most concerning, is that almost 60% of these shortages appear in middle and high-skilled occupations ((DfE) Employer Skills Survey).
The concern with a workforce skills shortage is something that is worrying businesses across all industry sectors. Companies who are not able to fill positions with skilled workers will be left with stretched resources that result in damaging implications for both the short-term and long-term outlook of the business.
Training your existing employees
One way to make up for a shortage of skilled workers in an organisation may be to upskill and further develop their existing employees, specifically tailoring the employees’ new skills to fit the actual shortage. Mentoring and offering training in-house, where a knowledgeable employee shares with others their expertise is a great way for companies with limited resources to increase their value without expending too much time and money. There is a phenomenal amount of free online courses available that can upskill an employee fairly quickly.
For more skilled or technically specific jobs, external online training and training whilst in employment could also address some shortages. This option can be more expensive and time-consuming; however, it can also pay dividends in the long run. Offering valuable training may make the organisation a more attractive employer and increase direct job applications.
Review your internal skillsets
Interestingly, there might be a more direct solution than you think. Many organisations have identified that they already have the people they need but are not utilising their pre-existing skill sets. It is important to internally talent map when looking at your available skill sets, paying close attention to skills that could be transferable.
Consider employees that might be able to apply their skills differently. Advertise vacant positions internally and encourage employees to adapt and learn.
Re-evaluate your recruiting practices
When skills shortages become a serious concern, it might be time to re-evaluate how you recruit new employees. Often new members of staff don’t have the full skillset to perform immediately at 100%. Without hurting your organisation, you could easily hire applicants with 80% of the right requirements and help them grow into the role. Or, hire applicants with all the right skills, but ones perhaps with less experience than you were initially looking for.
If you diversify your hiring practice and consider transferable skills as mentioned before, you could find excellent, motivated individuals who could easily help your company reach its goals.