Mitigate your Skills Shortages

Posted on: 07.11.2011    10:12:23

It is highly surprising given the amount of independent research and the volume written about the requirement to manage your internal talent how poorly this is generally carried out in house and how this leads to missed opportunities.

Many global organisations are failing to identify and use the skills of many of their people, yet complain they are being hampered by skills shortages.

A recent report from Randstad in the UK shows:

  • 44% of workers say their skills are being underutilised.
  • 38% of UK organisations complain that skills shortages are having a negative impact on operational performance
  • 40% say these shortages are impacting their ability to develop and innovate.

It does make you wonder as the report also identified that employers don’t have a grip on what makes them attractive to workers.

We disagree with the claimed priorities between those in work and those seeking work and our top three are:

  • Job security in these uncertain times
  • A level of remuneration commensurate with the skills provided
  • Being “allowed” to work and display their talent/skills

Whilst brand and corporate values may be of importance to Employers they don’t pay the bills for Employees and HR departments need to understand what is important to people by asking the simple questions.

Some organisations may well have hidden talent within that they simply don’t realise exists because they simply haven’t carried out a skills audit. How daft is that?

In international recruitment we see it all the time. CV’s will come in and candidates don’t list skills that might be valued. A classic example was a failed publican who had been a telecommunications expert in the military but the CV said “Armed forces” between 2 dates. So our advice is to look within, before looking outside.

Moreover, by tapping into this talent now will reduce the outflow of people as the economy improves as job satisfaction ranks very highly in loyalty tests. There are many people looking over the parapet awaiting better times and Employers need to guard their back door, rather than concentrating on trying to pull the untested through the front door.

Employers can also consider the benefits of outsourcing to mitigate the increasing risks of direct employment but here communication between clients and suppliers is not what it should be. To make this work well it relies on Employers defining what they actually want to achieve and understanding that a supplier needs to make a profit, if they are to take on the employment risks of the supply of contract labour.

This is by no means just a UK problem as we have seen it for years as Australia which has had skills shortages for years and even today Boards of Directors are still failing to communicate adequately with the market place.

It seems so obvious but remains a business conundrum.


Author – Chris Slay

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