Surviving in the corporate world is not easy. Anyone who is a part of the business world today will tell you that things might not always go your way and failure is something which you must learn to deal with at times.
Many young people believe that failure is something to be ashamed of, yet this is not so. Failure is nothing but a stepping stone towards success. Bridging skills gap in your team might not an easy task, given the fact that this is a very controversial topic indeed.
Skills Gap Definition
1. It is a glaring gap that exists between employees and employers:
It is rather unfortunate to note that though several top companies are waiting to employ new workers on-board, they are simply unable to do so because there is such a skill gap that exists.
Companies spend a long duration of time trying to recruit the perfect employees but nowadays they find that the employees, no matter how educated they are, are unable to provide what companies are looking for.
Most companies have very specific criteria that they are looking to fulfill and when the potential employees fail to deliver, the recruiters have no choice but to continue to search for someone better and more suited for the position.
2. It is between what skills employers want and the skills employees have:
The skills gap is present and wide. Broadly speaking skills gap is the gap that exists between the skills, which employers are looking for in their employees and the skills which the employees have.
Due to various reasons the workplace skills gap has just increased over time and has made it very tough for people to find good jobs. Job satisfaction is very important indeed.
If employees are not content with what they do, they will never be able to give up top quality work. Most individuals have various degrees but are lacking in skills that are needed to do the job well.
3. It is a controversial disconnect that leads to many problems:
This is indeed a controversial issue which leads to and is the cause of several problems. Due to such a skills gap, problems are not merely faced by employees but they are also faced by employers.
Firstly employees are forced to either remain unemployed or secondly they are forced to ‘settle’ for a job which is not at par with the qualifications which they have. As opposed to this, employers are unable to fill in key positions in their company no matter how hard they try.
A company must function like a well-oiled machine, but if key positions not fill, things are sure to go out of hand.
4. The skills gap is an issue which exists worldwide:
The skills gap is an issue that is not related to one company or country alone. On the contrary, it’s a problem that faces across the globe. Such a skills gap threatens to shake the very foundation of the business world itself.
If this issue is not taken care of or proper skills gap analysis is not done, the gap will only keep growing wider and wider. The wider the gap becomes, the more difficult it will be to find solutions to the problems.
Each company should try their level best to try and bridge the gap so that things can function effectively.
5. This gap is due to the shortage of professionals in two main areas:
There are many reasons for such a skills gap, one of the most important reasons for it is owing to the lack of skilled and trained professionals in two key fields.
The first is that there is a shortage of individuals who have sound technical and scientific knowledge and second is that there is a lack of individuals who have soft skills. Rather than taking too many people on-board, companies are on the lookout for individuals who are the complete package.
Understanding the Gap:
Based on the skill gaps many experts have come to the conclusion why a skill gap analysis is vital. The factors that experts have found out are
- The increased demand for soft skills
- Inadequate pay or compensation
- Hesitation to provide required training
- Poor results from automated job search programs
- Lack of potential employees for performing work
Skills You Didn’t Know You Needed:
Learning is a continuous process and any person who resonates it well will be able to achieve success and growth. It also helps to cover any skills gap the employee has.
Every employer wishes to hire candidates who are subjective and skillful within their field or niche. This not only helps you but also benefits the organization as well.
To know exactly what skills employers are looking for can be found from the job description but there are few basic skills which every job seeker must possess. Some of them are set of hard skills and soft skills.
To get a brief understanding, let us look at what are hard skills and soft skills
Hard skills are the type of skills which need to be learnt or thought such as writing, using computer software, etc
Soft skills are the type of skills that cannot be calculated such as critical thinking, ability to lead etc.
Now there are also few other skills which most job applicants ignore but later regret doing so. These are mostly hard skills and soft skills. Some of them are as follows
Top 5 Most Lacking Soft Skills:
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
Top 3 Most Lacking Hard Skills:
- Data analysis
- Public speaking
- Writing proficiency
How to Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis:
To start this section let us get into the basic idea of the term ‘skills gap’. It is the difference of skills what the employers look for, to the skills which employee possess.
The skills gap is mostly tested in bigger organizations for the overall employee performance and the areas in which they need to improve and master the skills required.
Step by step process to conduct a skills gap analysis:
Now the skills gap analysis can be done in two forms. They are
2. Identify important skills:
The best way to find out the skills can be done with the help of these questions
- What skills our employers would need to work well at present
- What skills our employers need for future works
- What skills do we value as an organization
3. Evaluate current skills:
The measurement of the skills can be done though
- Skills management software
- Performance review feedback
- Interview process
4. Work on the data gathered
The best way to solve this problem is majorly in 2 ways. They are,
1. Training for skill gaps:
- Get certifications in Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) and Project Management
- Professionals (PMP)
- Attend events and meetings
- Voluntary employee mentorship programs.
- Online courses
2. Hiring for skill gaps:
- Source passive candidates.
- Interview process needs to be structured
- Customize the recruitment process accordingly
Bridging the Skills Gap Between Work and Education:
1. Recognizing the flaws in the educational system:
It is needless to say that our present educational system is greatly flawed. It’s rather unfortunate, that the syllabus so huge that teachers forced to race against time and try to complete the curriculum, rather than giving the students time, to let the knowledge sink in and be truly understood.
It’s advisable that the syllabus should reduce and that the system of education should not be so exam oriented. Professors should try their best to encourage students to think beyond the box and not only go by the book at all times.
So before doing anything else, the first step towards bridging the skills gap is by recognizing the flaws in the education system.
2. By adapting the old educational system to suit modern business needs:
There are several reasons for such a skills gap that exists, but the root of the problem lies in the fact that the education system is very traditional and has not been adapted for several years.
Many of the things which teach today are obsolete and can be done away with. No matter how badly a good teacher might want to change his or her style of teaching and adapt it to suit more modern needs, the syllabus simply does not permit this.
In many places, the syllabus has not updated for more than 10 years. In the last 10 years so much has changed in the business worlds and so many career lines which did not even exist then are simply flourishing now.
3. Stressing on practical education as well:
One of the most effective ways to bridge the skills gaps between work and education is by stressing on practical education as well. It’s a well-known fact that education today simply focusing on theoretical knowledge.
Though theoretical knowledge is important and cannot be done away with, students should not be encouraged to only have theoretical knowledge. Nowadays companies are on the lookout for individuals who can come up with practical and simple solutions to problems without much difficulty.
If colleges and business schools put so much focus on theory, the students will be unable to think on their feet.
4. Making students put up presentations and debates:
Of all the skills which employers are on the lookout for today, one of the most vital skills is the skill to communicate well. Many smart students who have so much knowledge in the field are unable to get their ideas across properly and successfully.
This is because they only use to writing things down during an examination and are unable to speak and hold a proper conversation. To bridge the skills gap between work and education, colleges should encourage students to come forward and participate in debates and put up presentations.
5. Encouraging students to take up internships:
Most companies today looking out for workers who have at least some experience. Even newcomers expect to have some experience in the form of internships which they were a part of.
Colleges or business schools must encourage students to take up internships so that they can get a taste of what it is like to be a part of the actual business world. Even a single internship at a good company gives freshers an edge over the other candidates who are applying for the same post.
Most often, interns don’t make money, but in the course of their internship, they do receive a lot of exposure.
6. There should be more communication between both parties:
One of the main reasons why the skills gap has become so wide is because there is so little interaction between companies and business schools. Those imparting the education are unaware of what the companies are looking for and are therefore unable to prepare the students accordingly.
Because of this communication gap, it is the students who end up suffering the most. Bridging the gap will only be possible when both the systems are more transparent and the companies voice exactly what skills they are looking for in the employees which they are looking to employ.
Strategies to Bridge Skill Gaps in the Workplace:
1. The first step is how to identify the skill gaps:
Different companies look for different skills in their employees. The first step to bridge the skill gaps in the workplace is by actually recognizing the gap which exists by the gap analysis process.
To do this the seniors in the company must ask themselves some important questions. The first question is what exactly are the skills we are looking for? And second what are the skills that the potential employees are offering? And third Is there a possibility for some meeting ground in the middle? If companies fail to acknowledge, that such a problem exists and are unwilling to work towards it, then things will never improve.
2. They need to work on issues one at a time:
There can be no quick fix to bridging the skill gap which exists in the company. The seniors in a company must be willing to invest both times as well as money to ensure that the gap becomes less wide.
A proper gap analysis should check by the company. Rather than trying to solve the problem in one day, they must steadily work hard to ensure that things improve over time.
3. Training is an absolute must:
To ensure that the skills gap decreases in size, the companies should conduct training programs. Such training, when given to workers, helps them to work better and in a more efficient manner.
Though organizing such training may not be very cheap, but it does yield rich dividends in the future and it helps the employees understand exactly what is expected of them. If the company unwilling to make a little effort on its part they will never be able to find employees who suit their needs exactly.
4. Training should be conducted for all employees:
Rather than organizing training programs and workshops for simply the newcomers. Companies should try and organize training for all the employees irrespective of how many years they have been working there or what post it is that they hold. Having such training programs regularly keeps the employees focused and properly functional.
5. Periodically analyze whether the gap is getting smaller or not:
Finally, simply conducting training programs is not all that you need to do to lessen the gap which exists. It is very important that companies after implanting these strategies gauge whether they have been effective or not.
Rather than trying to put into practice any and every strategy which they can to get the company to function properly, they should put into practice only those things which they feel would help their company.
Even a few steps go a long way in ensuring that this gap does decrease. The skills gap in the workplace is a problem that exists, but it is certainly not impossible to get rid of it.
Bridging the skills gaps in a team is not going to easy, in fact, that various individuals differ in their understanding and explanation of what leads to such a skills gap. No matter what individuals say, there is no one cause or one solution for such a skills gap.
It’s of paramount importance that both employers, as-well-as employees, try and adapt their wants and needs in a particular way. If this not done, then unemployment is going to become a bigger problem among professionals and offices going to continue to find it hard to fill in various key positions in their companies.