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Business Reporter: Why educated talent alone won’t solve the skills gap
Today’s CEOs know that people are the most important factor in their organisation’s success. The skills employees have determines which companies innovate faster, meet the needs of customers better, and gain the competitive edge. However, despite the huge amount of time and money organisations invest in recruitment, they often still don’t have enough skilled talent to move at the pace they need.
What forces are at play here? And how can leaders bring in the most in-demand skills to succeed in today’s competitive landscape? To understand the root cause of the challenge, we first need to make the distinction between skilled talent and educated talent.
Education focuses more on theory, research and a love of learning. It does a tremendous job at getting you ready for life and builds a foundational knowledge of subjects. Whereas skilled talent is about having the right skills to perform in a specific role within an organisation.
The two are very different because education was never meant to neatly and perfectly synchronise with whatever industry happens to demand. For example, it can take a year or two to launch an accredited programme at university. In those two years, that industry could have made such progress that the knowledge of anyone graduating the programme would already be obsolete.
On top of the restricted supply of “skilled talent”, there’s also a growing demand for tech skills. This disconnect between supply and demand has resulted in the skills gap.
To bridge that gap, businesses must look beyond traditional recruitment and use two additional workforce strategies:
Emerging talentThese programmes create skilled candidates by hiring for potential and then training them in the specific skills, tools and industry knowledge needed for a role. Using a candiate’s potential as a benchmark results in greater equality: you cast a wider net, finding talent where others don’t look, helping you bring in more people from diverse backgrounds. These include graduate programmes, apprenticeships and early careers talent.
Solving the supply and demand issue cannot be met by hiring alone. The World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to this new dynamic. That’s a deficit of 12 million roles that will need to be filled. There simply are not enough people to fulfil these “roles of tomorrow”.
Reskilling your workforce is a complementary strategy to hiring, as it focuses on a totally different pool of talent: your current employees. You unleash the talent within your organisation. Taking non-tech employees and reskilling them into tech roles, for example, retains a company’s organisational knowledge, business acumen and culture and brings a diverse mindset to the IT function. Reskilling initiatives include learning and development programmes, job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment. Another way is to share expertise within your organisation through peer coaching and mentoring. Or you can bring expertise by hiring experts and specialists.
What both emerging talent and reskilling strategies have in common is they focus on someone’s aptitude and ability to learn. They then provide the training they need to perform in a role. In essence, they build your own pools of skilled talent.
How can your organisation get the edge on the competition by reskilling employees and bringing in trained emerging talent? With mthree’s industry-aligned training, from software development to data engineering to cyber-security, you can meet the challenge from both ends.
Originally published on Business Reporter