Closing the Candidate Skills Gap: Strategies for Success
Published on October 5th, 2023
As businesses look to survive the Great Resignation and win the Global War on Talent, they face a growing skills gap that threatens long-term business success. There are not enough skilled candidates to fill the rapidly-growing demand in several key high-skill roles.
This challenge will not be resolved on a global level anytime soon, leaving every employer with the daunting task of finding a way to close the skills gap for vital positions. Companies need to start addressing this today, so here is a three-step process to start your journey:
- Define Your Baseline Skills: Define the baseline set of skills essential for each position
- Mapping Your Skills Gap: Identify the gaps in skills for each position
- Learning to Bridge the Skills Gaps: Develop training and development programs to bridge your skills gaps
Before we proceed, let's gain a deeper understanding of skill gaps.
What Is the Skills Gap?
The skills gap refers to the disparity between the skills and qualifications job seekers possess and the skills required by employers in specific industries or roles. This gap can manifest in various ways, including a shortage of candidates with essential skills, such as technical expertise or soft skills like communication and problem-solving.
The skills gap is a critical concern for businesses and economies, impacting productivity, innovation, and competitiveness. Understanding and addressing this gap is vital for bridging the divide between talent supply and industry demands.
According to the 2023 Wiley Report, ‘Closing the Skills Gap 69% of the surveyed HR professionals believe their respective organizations suffer from a skill gap, which is a 14% rise from 2021
Define Your Baseline Skills
There are multiple sources to help you develop a list of the key skills needed for specific roles.
You can always start with your job descriptions, but you need to carefully review the list of skills to ensure they are current. Delete any obsolete skills and identify skills needed for success in the position in the future.
You can gather a wealth of information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which details job descriptions and skill requirements for many common positions. Another great source is the Singapore Skills Framework .
Many job sites provide excellent sources of information on the essential skills for many jobs, including LinkedIn , Indeed, Zip Recruiter , and many others.
Once you have identified the skill requirements for each position, you can identify the skills gaps.
Mapping Your Skills Gaps
The best place to start identifying your skills gaps is inside your organization.
You may have made great hires in the past, but the skills needed to do the job well may have changed over time, especially as the more technical aspects of most jobs have evolved.
You can inventory the skills your employees have already in several different ways:
- Cull through the employee reviews already on file.
- Do observations of workers as they perform their jobs.
- Assess them through testing or role-play for specific skills.
- Benchmark employees against top performers in their role.
- Perform 360-degree reviews that identify skills through co-worker and manager feedback.
- Collect data directly from the employees about their certificates and proven competencies.
One great way to inventory the skills gaps with your current employees is to utilize the same skills assessments you use on candidates with your current employees. For example, [Hire Quotient’s AI-powered business skills assessments](https://hirequotient.com) can help you identify any skills gaps in your current employees, and help you build a training plan for each individual.
Of course, you will also have new positions where you will not be able to benchmark skills using your current employees. HireQuotient’s Virtual Interviewers will enable you to quickly identify those gaps with your candidates and move forward with action plans for closing those gaps.
Learning to Bridge the Skills Gap
In both your current employees and your candidates, you will find gaps between their skills and the skills you need. The key to closing those skills gaps is developing (or leveraging) training and development programs.
Here is a step-by-step approach to bridging your skills gaps through training and development:
- Prioritize the skills that need both immediate training as well as ongoing development
- Design your training objectives with your business goals in mind.
- Consider individual learning needs of both current employees and candidates.
- Communicate the value of the training and your organization’s commitment to developing people.
- Be realistic with your training objectives and training schedule.
- Help learners apply their skills.
- Collect feedback early and often.
- Measure training effectiveness.
At HireQuotient, our AI-powered business skills assessments help you define your baseline skills, map your skill gaps and measure the progress of your learning programs.
Our chatbot-powered skill assessments are built around realistic work scenarios, ensuring candidates answer structured questions based on the provided data and generate insights into each candidate’s job-specific skills and business competencies.
Learn more about how HireQuotient can help your organization close the candidate skills gap.
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