Unlock your business's future by tackling skills gaps in the workplace

Published date: April 26, 2022

Unlock your business's future by tackling skills gaps in the workplace

Technological changes, hybrid working practices and evolving business models mean that modern workplaces require access to new skill sets to fully meet the challenges of the future. Widening skills gaps and shortages are a priority for many business leaders. But how can you best identify the skills gaps in your organisation and what are the best ways to address them to unlock your business’ full potential?

What is a skills gap?

A skills gap is the difference between the skills and expertise your workforce currently has and the skills and expertise your business will need to act productively, efficiently, and competitively going forward. This difference is not a deficiency of your individual employees but can be affected by changing technologies, business needs and a failure to plan. Of particular concern to employers is the growing digital skills gap in the wider workforce as business begin to rely more heavily on technology and data. It is estimated that whilst demand for digital skills is rising, 48% of businesses are recruiting for roles that require digital skills, these same businesses, 46% in fact, are struggling to hire for these roles.

5 strategies for closing skills gaps in the workplace

So, how can you make sure that your business has access to the skills you need to unlock your potential and drive forward? Here are five strategies for closing skills gaps in your workplace:

  1. Conduct a skills gap analysis. In order to assess the difference between the skills you currently have access to and the skills you will need for the future it is necessary to conduct a skills gap analysis. This tool can be extremely helpful in periodically ensuring that every employee is working to their full potential and is invaluable in making sure you plan ahead. 

Below we have provided a handy checklist for conducting your own skills gap analysis.

  1. Expand your development programs. Identify which members of your current workforce will benefit from accessing expanded upskilling or reskilling programs. Mentorships, apprenticeships, and partnerships with local academic institutions can be excellent ways to ensure a pipeline of new, highly skilled talent and allow your teams the chance to develop the skills you need.
  2. Consider contractor support. If skills gaps threaten the progress of urgent or short-term projects, then consider engaging contractor support. Contractors can be a cost-effective way to access technical skills at short notice and can be used to support and educate your current teams.
  3. Hire for skills over experience. When hiring focus on applicants with the required skillset regardless of their experience level. Often it is more efficient to hire candidates with the existing skills and no bad habits. Additionally, candidates who have been in the workplace for a long time may not have up-to-date skillsets.
  4. Re-examine your hiring process. Scrutinise your hiring process and identify places of improvement. For example, you could advertise in different places to access new or overlooked talent pools. Utilise speciality recruiters to access specific skills and remove barriers for applicants such as lengthy forms or pre-employment tests.

Skills gap analysis checklist

Here is our useful five-step checklist for conducting your skills gap analysis:

  1.  Identify your business goals. Firstly, it is important to establish what skills your business needs for the immediate future. What are your goals for the next year, two years, and five years? What skill sets do your employees need now? Are there any job roles that should be filled now to help your business move forward?
  2. Focus on the future. Once you have established what skills you need in the short term, you can begin to focus on the future. Are any technologies having an impact on your area of business? What skills will your employees need to access these technologies? Is there potential for greater automation and are there any new roles that are likely to be needed?
  3. Measure current skills. Now you know what skills you need in the short, medium, and long-term you can assess the current skill set you have available. Use KPIs, assessments, and surveys to establish what skills your current employees have. Ask your employees what skills they feel they are lacking and where they perceive the skills gap to be in your organisation and use performance reviews to track employees training and development.
  4. Identify gaps. Compare the skills your workforce has currently with the skills you need them to have to identify concrete gaps. Once you have identified skills gaps you can begin to address them.
  5. Take action! Create a comprehensive action plan to address the gaps you have identified. What skills can you train employees in and what skills will you need to hire for? What is the timescale for addressing these gaps? Skills gap analysis should be conducted periodically to be most effective.

Cooper Lomaz can help you build teams with the skills you need to face the future, fully prepared!

Have you identified critical skills gaps that you need to fill through recruitment? We can help you address your skills gaps, access new pools of talent and streamline your recruitment processes to ensure your business always has the skills and expertise available to meet future challenges.

At Cooper Lomaz, we understand that every business is different, and we can help you build a recruitment process that is tailored to you and that will ensure you find talented candidates that match your requirements as well as your culture and brand personality.

Contact us to discuss your needs or submit a brief.