According to the latest white paper from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Public Policy Council, organizations are turning down business because they don’t have qualified people to do the work. 87 percent of respondents said the skills gap was affecting business performance in the areas of customer service, growth and service delivery. I’m not sure that the challenge of finding qualified candidates is surprising, it’s been brewing for a while. But the statement that companies are turning down business as a result is, or at least should be, a wakeup call.
One of the things I found very interesting in the white paper was the distinction in defining the skills gap. We have a tendency to simply think of it as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) but the paper also looks at the “middle skills gap” defined as those jobs that require more than a high school degree and less than a four-year college degree.
The other piece of the white paper that I found interesting was the conversation about why the skills gap is developing. Yes, it talked about emerging technologies and outsourcing, which commonly come up in the discussion. But also being cited are education gaps and on-the-job training opportunities, specifically in areas such as communication skills, supervisory skills and problem-solving. This supports the need for business to start developing talent internally. Not only does it help the organization fill their talent pipeline but it’s not as expensive has hiring externally.
You can download a copy of the full white paper titled “Bridging the Skills Gap: Workforce Development is Everyone’s Business” to get all the details. It’s well worth the read.