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Tackling the skill gap through learning and adapting

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The skills gap is a glaring issue in the public eye, due to skill shortages, this can lead to lack of staff morale, as well as businesses not being able to work as efficiently in achieving their targets. We explore some of the reasons for these skill shortages, and what companies can do to tackle this problem.

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In recent times it has become apparent that there is a constant skill gap opening, with many companies struggling to find the right talent for the roles they require. In addition to this, as the world of technology grows exponentially, it has become apparent that in the following years there will be a large number of jobs that will need to be filled as these technological advancements move on.

Brexit and Technologies

With there being a higher number of jobs needed to fulfil these technological needs, it has opened a skills gap for many businesses, who are struggling to find the right talent for these jobs, as well as struggling to develop their existing staff to fulfil these needs. It has become clear that there is a gradually opening skills gap in the UK.

However, this is not only new technologies that have opened up this issue, as through a report produced by, the Addeco Group, but they also found that 34% of UK managers say that their organisation has considered automating elements of their business in order to tackle skills shortages that might come about because of Brexit.

Alex Fleming, Country Head and President of Staffing and Solutions, the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, commented on this discovery, saying “The idea that Brexit will exacerbate the UK’s skills shortage is not a new one, but with one in five businesses not planning to do anything to mitigate this, not all organisations are prepared to deal with this reality.

She went on to further discuss how employers can ensure that this issue doesn’t continue to worsen “In order to not just succeed but thrive once the UK leaves the EU, every employer needs to have a plan for how they will address current and potential future talent challenges. Looking at other countries and how they have dealt with labour shortages can help. In Singapore, for example, organisations are being encouraged to create opportunities for older workers and think about how they can design jobs to help extend their working lives. Alongside making better use of your existing workforce and improving your retention rates, thinking about how to attract potentially untapped sources of talent can help futureproof your organisation in the face of any skills gaps – Brexit related or not.”

James Roberts, Director of Sanctuary Bathrooms discusses his viewpoint on his skill gap and how this has raised challenges in his role: “In terms of skills gaps, the biggest issues we are finding at the moment not just as a business but in the bathroom industry as a whole is that customers are having to wait long periods of times to get work done they want to do. We offer a personalised service to customers from the moment they contact us from a design phase to the work stage, and it is often the latter stages that have caused the most problems when we talk to customers during our customer journey and also as part of our aftercare process.”

Lack of industry-specific talent

He goes on to discuss the lack of talent in the industry that he’s working in “At the moment, there is a clear lack of quality tradespeople that can do work in a timely manner, who are also able to complete work to the highest standards. This is also a similar story when it comes to companies through our Trade Accounts and suppliers we work with, who tell us they are also struggling to find people with the right expertise or qualifications.”

In addition to this, in a report by CIPD, they state that over two in five of all employers (44%) report that it has become more difficult to fill vacancies over the past 12 months at their organisation, while over a third (34%) of employers say that retention pressures have risen during the same period.

With all these recent implications of lack of talent in a widespread across the UK, as well as “The voice technology market is forecast to grow significantly over the next five to seven years (with current estimates ranging from 17.2% – 19.8% CAGR). But the new Experis Industry Insiders report reveals that this boom in demand will not be sustainable with the current talent pool in the UK.” If leaders don’t put processes in place to tackle this, this could potentially widen in the future.

What companies doing to tackle this

Due to this skill gap being a noticeable change to the workforce, many companies have risen to the challenge of closing this.

Vodafone and Sony Pictures have recently announced a ground-breaking global collaboration, which sees them uniting to help millions of young people in 20 countries identify their skills and find digital jobs that match them.

Joakim Reiter, Director of External Affairs at Vodafone Group said: “Our ambition is to help 10 million young people to access digital skills, learning and employment opportunities and our partnership with Sony Pictures will help us accelerate our progress towards this goal by bringing our digital platform, Future Jobs Finder, to more young people who are thinking about their future career. Future Jobs Finder has been specifically designed to help young adults make a connection between their skills and digital careers they may never have thought of. Together we can harness the power of technology, and the excitement around the movie, to engage with young people to help them realise their potential and play a role in closing the digital skills gap.”

In addition to a number of companies offering these opportunities a number of learning opportunities to their existing staff in order for them to learn these necessary skills. However Ben Chatfield, CEO and Co-Founder of Tempo “Currently work simply doesn’t incorporate a range of learning opportunities, let alone make them a priority. Expertise is supposed to be acquired while working, but many employers have become less willing to invest in training their workforces – indeed, according to the CIPD, investment and participation in vocational training have dropped significantly in recent years.”

He went on to say how this can be improved “93% of millennials are willing to spend their own money on training, why should they have to pay for something that benefits their employer and the wider economy? To address learning, we must rethink the nature of employment.”

However, there can be other alternative solutions to this, Tom Bailey, The Learning Experience Manager at AXA talks about what they are doing to combat this issue. “As a huge organisation, you tend to just look at what you’re doing as a company, but we really need to be outwardly focused, so we work with external partners, come to conferences like Convergence Cornerstone to look at new innovations and trends. And then try and predict where those skills gaps will be in the future”

Although even though there are other approaching to accommodating for this skill gap. He does still state the importance of learning and development. “Learning is becoming more and more important in the workplace, especially because of the speed of change, and those of us who aren’t continuously learning and developing may get left behind in our careers. A recent report by Dell claimed that 85 per cent of the jobs that will be available in 2030 have not even been invented yet. So, it’s that message trying to make sure that people know that learning is so important for their own development.”

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