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Closing the Skills Gap

Attracting qualified candidates is no easy task. 70 percent of professionals say that the skills gap is a top hiring challenge in 2018.

You may be thinking, “of course it’s going to be difficult to hire the next COO or software engineer.” But this impacts more than technical positions and executive search. The skills gap expands everywhere. In fact, 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need, even for entry level jobs, according to McKinsey.

Is the skills deficit starting to seem less like a gap and more like the Grand Canyon? Here’s what you can do to rethink the skills gap and fill job vacancies with qualified workers:
Consider a temp-to-perm strategy

Hire on-the-fence candidates for temporary and temporary-to-permanent positions. This gives you a chance to see if the candidate can learn any missing skills on the job.

What does “on-the-fence” look like? Maybe the candidate is on the fence culturally. Or maybe they’re a great culture fit, but don’t have all the hard skills. See if they’ll gel with your team before hiring the candidate full time to reduce the risk of costly turnover.
Invest in training

92% of employees become more loyal to companies that invest in training, according to Career Builder. When you develop your talent pipeline and provide job-specific training, new hires and current employees benefit. It prepares staff for the future, closes the skills gap and elevates engagement.

“That’s great and all, but what makes a good training program?”

So glad you asked. Here’s how to seal the skills gap with spectacular training:

  • Tailored training: Everyone learns at their own pace, so one-size-fits all training may not be best. Consider letting employees be on the frontlines of their future. Put a program in place that lets employees move up the ladder based on performance. A customizable path will ignite intrinsic motivation that sparks success.

  • Shadowing: Shadowing can be a quick and cost-effective way for newbies to get a firsthand look at their future position. They’ll get a tangible feel for challenges facing other teams and can see the impact their role has on the company at large.

  • Using technology: As tech booms at a bewildering pace, it’s vital to keep up with new trends. E-learning tools like Lynda can foster development in employees lacking job-specific skills. You can even seal the skills gap from overseas with web conferencing tools. Train your team remotely or have an expert from anywhere in the world lead a training session.

Seek Soft Skills

Value qualities like problem solving, teamwork and communication in your hiring decisions. Looking for good character will lead to more engaged, productive employees. These candidates are more likely to stretch themselves to learn any hard skills they're lacking.

Qualifying candidates based on their character and their potential for growth will likely result in higher-caliber employees down the line. As author James Webb states, “It’s not how good you are at the job, it’s how good you want to be.” Look for candidates with the drive to go from average to extraordinary. These employees will own their own development and naturally close the skills gap.

Tackling the skills gap with these creative strategies will take it from a Grand Canyon to a crack in the sidewalk. For more secrets to closing the skills gap, download our white paper.