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Bridging the skills Gap: Training is the key

TACKLING THE SKILLS SHORTAGE IS A TOP CONCERN FOR EMPLOYERS THESE DAYS. WHAT IS CURRENTLY BEING DONE TO BRIDGE THE GAP AND WHERE SHOULD WE FOCUS OUR EFFORTS?

 

46% of executives at large US companies believe that they won’t have the skills they need in the next one to two years, according to the Accenture 2013 Skills and Employment Trends Survey. The UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey from 2011 found that 16% of all vacancies were due to skills shortages and highlighted the largest skills gaps as being among Skilled Trades occupations. What’s more, 13% of UK employers reported having at least one employee lacking the relevant skills.

 

The skills gap is a far-reaching issue in terms of business impact. In fact, Accenture found that, among companies currently facing or anticipating a skills shortage, 66 percent anticipate a loss of business to competitors, 64 percent face a loss of revenue, 59 percent face eroding customer satisfaction and 53 percent say they will face a delay in developing new products or services. Evidently, employee skills are core to the successful functioning of a business.

 

The skills shortage, particularly in engineering roles, has received a lot of attention recently but what is the key to addressing this issue and what methods are currently being employed?

 

Training is essential in developing the skills of a workforce. Although this is recognised by employers as a top priority, only 21% of US employees received company-provided formal training between 2006-2011. Evidently this is an area that needs more focus. Employee training is an essential part of building on the skills of new and existing employees and improving performance and loyalty.

 

One of the current methods being employed to tackle the skills gap is re-training retired personnel and training new personnel who are coming across from different industries. For example, in the oil & gas industry, one sector that is being targeted to bring across employees to fill the gap is the military, given their relevant existing skillset.

 

Whichever way you look at it, the skills gap is a concerning issue across industries. Training seems to be the key to tackling that issue, whether it is by training new personnel recruited to join the industry or maintaining and improving on the skills of existing employees.