There is truth behind the heavily publicized ‘skills gap’. Part of the problem is a disconnect in communication between employers and education institutions (67 percent of business leaders disagree or are neutral to the statement ‘higher education graduates have the skills my business needs’), part of the problem is rapid adoption of new technologies (according to DOL, 65 percent of students will have a job that currently does not exist).
As a company, it is important to consider:
- Forecasting demand for not only job positions, but also the underlying skills. This signals what specific skills you are looking for and allows you to define your company learning culture.
- Share the forecast with your community (both online and offline), so educators, workforce preparedness organizations, and civic government can create initiates and plan curriculum to address needs.
- Get the forecast in the hands of impressionable students (in high school or college). Students see the demand in the aggregate (high demand for electrical engineering) or specifically targeting your company (company y is seeking these skills / professions over the next three years). Regardless, students know there is opportunity, they acquire skills using the Skills Based Approach methodology. Students also have choice on how they acquire the skills (college courses, MOOCs, specific jobs, etc.) based on measures such as ROI.
- Publicize the demand for both technical and transferable skills. You hire based on transferable skills and desired competency levels – measure by skill assessments. Then, create a ‘state of the art’ on boarding and training program to teach the technical skills.
- Hire based on skills. Create assessments, tests, and/or gamification to assess desired skill competencies. Require potential hires to ‘prove their skills’ with the power of demonstration (work projects, coursework, etc. ). This expands the talent pool. Your company considers more education and training backgrounds.
Hear a popular phrase: “Hire for character, you can train for skills”.
Disagree. I believe a commitment to acquire skills and behaviors over an extended period of time demonstrates character. Conscientiously applying them in every experience requires diligence.
I will be doing an upcoming seminar on this subject.