16 Things You Need To Know About The Skills Shortage

Employers talk about experiencing difficulties in recruiting people with the skills they want. Skills gaps, skills shortages and being able to get staff with simple communication skills are reported as recurring workplace issues. But what is the truth?

  1. There is little doubt that many employers have difficulty in getting people with the right skills but much work is being done to address the issue.
  2. New apprenticeship schemes, mentoring programmes and a greater focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and maths are provided than ever before.
  3. Encouraging more students to take up such subjects will help provide the skills employers need as demand continues to outstrip supply in many industries.
  4. Encouraging women to take up similar subjects will also help, as their participation rate is traditionally low even though greater numbers are joining the workforce.
  5. Government has a key role to play but employers and employer representative bodies must also engage to highlight awareness and attract attention to where there are opportunities.
  6. Work experience can play a valuable role as employers want to employ candidates with practical knowledge and hands-on experience of the workplace.
  7. Employers can and should do more by offering high quality work placements to improve skills and engage students in future careers.
  8. Greater awareness of enterprise and entrepreneurship is needed to encourage pupils to explore starting their own business and creating their own job.
  9. More support is needed for students who want to test business ideas and start their own firms, not least to encourage greater numbers of entrepreneurs in the future.
  10. More investment in training is needed from employers as budgets still suffer from post recession cuts and the sluggish lazy paced recovery.
  11. Employer professional bodies can identify the needs of employers and address industry shortages by ensuring suitable training pathways are in place.
  12. Demographics play a role as the number of older people in the workforce climbs and retirements loom with an associated loss of experience and manpower.
  13. Changing age profiles trigger the need to replace skills in different industries at different times depending on the ability to attract new staff and retain older workers for longer periods of time.
  14. Consideration must be given to where replacement workers will come from in the medium and long-term as the population ages and the birth rate slackens.
  15. The automation of the workplace must be planned as employers who struggle with skill shortages turn to technology with a resultant loss of jobs.
  16. Parents have a key role to play in informing themselves and encouraging their children to pursue careers in areas where there will be jobs in the future.

SO, employers yearn for the days when the skills they needed were plentiful but times have changed and the onus is now on them to be more skillful in finding solutions.