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The growing skills gap in the job market and how can we overcome it?

When employers make hiring decisions, their goal is to fill open positions with applicants that closely match the needs of the role. They perform this by comparing the skills and abilities needed to the skills and abilities that the candidate currently possesses. There are times, when a company has difficulty filling open positions because they are unable to find applicants whose skills align with tasks at hand. We can ask businesses or any HR leader that amongst most of their worries when it comes to hiring candidates is the one of widening skills gaps among the individuals.

The business world is changing, and most employers lack the internal talent mobility, to address the widening skills gaps. In easy terms, internal talent mobility exists when employees can advance across roles or completely change their occupation within the same organization. For example, when an employee is moved to a different role within the same department, this is termed under intradepartmental transfers and counts for internal talent mobility.

Businesses have recognised the need to uncover their skills gaps and upskill their workers for the future. But, just defining the skill alone is not enough. To be successful, our company need to be able to explain its employees what skills are actually required for their business.

Moving on, the term skills gap refers to the difference between the skills and abilities and employer needs its employees to possess to do their jobs well and the skills which the employee currently has. These gaps vary by industry, and over time, with help of education and other training practices, employees can solidify their standing at work by addressing their own skills gap and learning to eliminate them.

When it comes to the most in-demand workplace skills, one can think of emotional intelligence, innovation, analytics, collaboration, continuous learning, adaptability, coaching mindset, critical thinking, adaptability, learning agility and valuing diversity. Organisations firstly need to rethink what skills they are actively looking for which will give a clear understanding to the employees as well as the company about priorities in their business.

Let us now move on to how firms can overcome this skills gap.

1. Identifying our strengths and weaknesses

The first step in closing your personal skills gap is to take analyse our strengths and weaknesses. Identifying the skills that we already have and the skills we need or want to improve requires in setting aside our ego and learning to be honest with ourselves. We can perform this by brainstorming and preparing a list, noting every attribute we can think of ourselves. Preparing a list will allow us to know which aspects and skills hold more importance to us, and which we can work on to minimise or eliminate our skills gap.

2. Revisiting current job requirements

Sometimes it's easy to focus on all the small activities that make up a workday and lose sight of the primary responsibilities that are the foundation of our current role. A good way to refocus and reassess our potential skills gap is to take a close look at our actual job description. As we compare the responsibilities listed in our job description to the way we spend our time and energy each day, we may discover some discrepancies that indicate a skills gap.

3. Reviewing recent performance evaluations

One of the best ways to determine which skills we may lack or need to improve is to look over our most recent performance evaluations and see what areas for improvement the manager identified for us. We can add those items to our list of skills to improve.

4. Speaking with the supervisor or manager

This includes some in-person external feedback. If we have a regularly scheduled check-in with the manager, we can bring up the topic of “skills I want to improve” list.

5. Locating education and training opportunities

After doing a self-inventory, talking to the manager and reviewing our job description and performance reviews, our “skills I want to improve” list is now an actionable map guiding us to overcoming the skills gap. Look at each item and locate the education, training and development resources to use. Firstly, we should find out if the company we work at, provides a dedicated organizational development and learning department or an online learning portal for its employees. We can even investigate other colleges, universities and training institutes that can help in overcoming our skills gaps.

6. Making a definite plan

Closing our skills gap will take time, and it is important we stay positive and motivated. A well-constructed plan, with specific steps and timelines, will help in remaining focused and provide a way for us to track our progress.


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