In the war for talent, employers have been increasingly struggling to bridge the skills gap and find qualified workforce on job. However, an interesting finding according to the 2015 Emerging Workforce Study (EWS) commissioned by Spherion Staffing reveals, employees feel insecure about their job skills and career advancement prospects as competition in markets hits an all-new high.
From the worker’s perspective, these findings underscore a new skills gap story that will affect the future of the workplace. “We’ve known that employers have been dealing with the skills gap issue for a long time. But, with this new data capturing the average worker’s perspective, we know this issue is on track to become a critical threat to economic success,” said Spherion Division President Sandy Mazur.
Mazur further added: “What’s unique about the Emerging Workforce Study is that we capture and examine the perspectives of the workplace from both the employer and worker points of view.” 2015 EWS study indicates nearly half of all employers (48 percent) see finding qualified/skilled workers as a top human resource concern in the next few years, and 62 percent of employers are more worried about a talent shortage today, as compared to one year ago.
The study also revealed increasing workers’ insecurities and lack of confidence when it comes to their job skills. More than one-third of workers (35 percent) find it hard to find the time to keep their skills up-to-date, and 29 percent of workers feel their current level of job skills are outdated and leave them at risk in terms of furthering their career.
In view of this uncertainty, employees feel their current skills are not competent enough and it will hamper their further career advancement prospects with an organisation. One-third (33 percent) of workers believe their current job skills fall short of what will be required for future positions, and 36 percent of workers don’t feel their current job skills will help them attain a promotion today.
See: Why Do Employers Miss Out on Recruiting Brightest Talent?
This study was conducted online by Harris Poll among 225 U.S. human resource managers and 2,027 employed U.S. adults (aged 18+). Well, then who’s suppose to shoulder the blame for skills shortage? When asked employers, they largely agree and think that they are taking the steps needed to ensure their workers are well-equipped to do their jobs.
According to this year’s EWS, 77 percent of employers have put more training and development programs in place to increase retention. And, only 24 percent of employers find the cost to keep workers trained for future skill needs and requirements extremely or very challenging. Contrarily, 76 percent of workers agree that an employer should be responsible for providing a clear career development path for its employees.
While on the other end, 35 percent employees believe they are falling behind in skills gap for skills that will be needed in future, and 31 percent respondents feel they haven’t been trained adequately by employers on job and only 33 percent seem to be satisfied with the training and development programmes offered by their respective companies.
Despite the obvious disconnect between the employers and workers opinions in the workplace when it comes to addressing the bigger issue of skills gap, it is worth noting that both employers and workers agree on common grounds, when it comes to top skills required to stay in demand for the next five years.
Workers believe problem-solving skills (51 percent), strategic thinking skills (31 percent) and evolving technology expertise (30 percent) are essential to have. Similarly, many employers agree with problem-solving skills (47 percent) and strategic thinking skills (34 percent); however, they cite team-building skills, the ability to understand and interpret data and evolving technology expertise as equally important skills that should be required in a job (all at 25 percent).
To address the skills gap and combat the talent war, Mazur suggests, “Workers and employers must take joint responsibility for closing the skills gap. Workers should understand where businesses are headed and what skills they’ll need to help close the gap, while employers should examine their workers’ skill levels to focus on training that will be helpful and useful for them. This type of training also has long-lasting impact on the workforce, including greater retention, engagement and a more positive impact on business success.”
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