Companies Need to Close Skills Gaps in Time of Low Unemployment  

A talent crisis has forced employers to reevaluate their talent management strategies while looking to help current ones close some skill gaps. It doesn’t help that job quitters are at a 17-year high in the United States. That has been attributed to employees looking for better opportunities and bumps to their salaries. The tech talent shortage has also affected companies looking to hire tech talents.

Last year, the number of workers who voluntarily left their jobs rose to 3.58 million — that’s 2.4 percent of the entire U.S. workforce. Bloomberg reports that the last time this many workers quit their jobs was 2001.

Job quitting is an exaggerated term, though, as any move these days are considered smart moves. There’s a clear advantage to increasing earning potential by switching jobs. Brian Kropp, vice president at research firm Gartner, said the average increase in compensation for a worker who quits their old job for a new one is about 15 percent.

How does an employer cope, if not to require tech skills from their current staff? A Talent Guard piece cautioned though that it’s not simply a case of streamlining the recruitment process to attract more candidates, partly because of the job quitters. Only 20 percent of employees have the necessary skills for both their current role and future career, according to Gartner. Which makes closing skill gaps crucial.

A successful career pathing strategy is therefore needed to address the underlying problems in two stages:

Stage 1 : Identify the skills gaps

For global mobility professionals, it’s important to understand where the skills gaps exist within a company’s workforce by talking to their human resources staff. If these workers are struggling to keep up with rapid digital transformation, they have a skills gap.

To understand exactly where that skills gap exists within a business, it is recommended that they identify overall company objectives. All career pathing strategies should be developed within the context of these goals:

  • Identify the skills that are preventing the organization from achieving its objectives
  • Identify the current skills of employees

Allowing employees to evaluate their own skills gaps is a critical part of a successful career pathing program. Ask them to focus on the skills required to perform their job effectively, both now and to enable them to develop in the future.

Technology is the workplace disrupter so even highly qualified long-term employees may have skills gaps where their job has evolved due to digitization.

Stage 2 : Train employees

Companies will need to empower employees’ personal and career growth and monitor job satisfaction as well as improve attrition levels within the organization.  

Career pathing helps employees to objectively evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses, while providing access to coaching and learning resources which can help them to realize their career aspirations.

The most successful career pathing programs are interactive and utilize tools such as talent profiles, gap analyses, and organizational insights in a user-friendly interface to create customized career paths and insight on how to develop critical skills.

At a time of continued technological disruption, retaining and developing professionals with specialized skills could prove to be the critical difference, especially in a job market that has seen more job quitters than actual job-seekers.