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The skills shortage: a brief exploration

10/17/2022

Skills, jobs, employment

There's a major undersupply in labor across the globe, and every industry feels it.. The cause can't be narrowed down to one thing — rather, a myriad factors are at play. While many people are choosing to work on a temporary basis only, others are pursuing entrepreneurial passions. But, most importantly, there simply aren't enough qualified people for many of the thousands, if not millions, of open vacancies.

A survey conducted by ManPowerGroup recently found that the global talent shortage is the highest it's been in almost two decades. Roughly three-quarters of companies reported struggling to find appropriately skilled and experienced hires. Further, it's anticipated that, should this shortage continue until 2030, businesses worldwide could experience a collective loss of over $8.5 trillion.

What's causing this lack of talent, what are the implications and how can it be remedied? Let's have a look:

Understanding the skills gap

Organizations need to be aware of the talent shortage's root causes before they can begin implementing solutions. One potential contributing factor is, unfortunately, an unavoidable one: time. As many of the skilled workers in the Baby Boomer generation begin retiring, they're leaving open job positions behind. They've had the time to accrue the necessary knowledge and skills, but their counterparts from younger generations haven't.

Secondly, as Brookings explains, employers are requiring a wider range of skills from potential new employees than that of their predecessors. Many job candidates aren't able to meet these often lofty and sometimes unrealistic expectations. Further, the current economic climate is another issue: A rising number of people simply can't afford the education and training that organizations require of them.

The employer's dilemma

An inadequately staffed workforce leads to lowered productivity and output. This, in turn, results in an organization's inability to meet consumer or client demands and expectations. Consequently, the company struggles to stay relevant and competitive in their respective market and battles to generate revenue.

Business leaders who find themselves in this position are asking themselves what they can do to alleviate these problems, and most often the question is "to hire, or not to hire?" Recruiting and onboarding talent can be a costly and time-consuming exercise for which many organizations don't have the resources.

Possible solutions to the crisis

While these challenges may seem unsurmountable, there are several possible antidotes. Firstly, organizations in the market for new employees can offer better prospects than their competitors. If companies don't want to recruit new workers, they can provide their current workforce with training and upskilling programs that will enable them to assume more roles and responsibilities (provided they're compensated adequately, as low salaries combined with overly heavy workloads are a leading cause of employee turnover). 

Businesses would also do well to consider using temporary staff as a means of sourcing the talent they need in the moment. Temporary staffing can be used as either a long-term or short-term solution, depending on an organization's unique needs and constraints.

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