U.S. Faces Mounting Worker Skill Gap

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Contrary to the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. since 2008, 80 percent of companies of all shapes and sizes report the skills gap is real and a hindrance for any organization looking to recruit employees, according to a new report from Adecco – a human resource provider.

The report reveals that the biggest reason for the skills gap is the disparity in wage expectations between employees and employers. In this report, the skills gap centers on the workforce. The reluctance to pay would-be personnel the going rates for in-demand jobs, such as software engineering, healthcare and customer service professionals, is a sure method to push away talent, stymie future hiring and even damage the employer brand in process, the authors suggest.

Some of the other key issues contributing to the skills gap include new, shifting technologies, employers not willing to pay enough to attract talent, job requirements that are above entry requirements, and access to education.

“The biggest surprise we found from our research was the employer-employee perception mismatch when it comes to the skills gap. Specifically, we found that 56 percent of the C-suite participants surveyed believe the skills gap is real, yet most workers think they are adequately qualified (71 percent)- and a quarter (25 percent) think they are overqualified – for the last job they applied for,” said Janelle Bieler, vice president of Adecco USA.

Bieler said that in light of the continued shift to a candidate-driven market and available talent pools becoming shallower, “we did the report because we wanted to weigh C-suite or employer perceptions against what we are hearing from workers or job candidates to really understand both sides of the story when it comes to today’s employment and hiring landscape.

“We surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. adults who identified as being currently employed about what they want to see from employers and more than 500 C-suite executives about their most (and least) effective workforce management efforts.”

In contrast, the one-fifth of employers who don’t believe there is a skills gap have their own ideas for why 80 percent of organizations struggle to recruit talent.

The report found that one company, for example, indicated that such companies have done a poor job of planning for the future, also known as strategic workforce planning. Another company in the survey indicated that organizations believe there is a skills gap because, “there is too much rigidity in the perception that qualified candidates should have the capabilities to be successful as soon as they’re hired, and there’s less focus on learning and development to get those levels.”

Bieler points out that the takeaway from this report is that employers need to recognize the modern workforce is evolving, and they need to be nimble and evolve right along with it to attract and retain talent. And one key way is to provide employees with ongoing education and training.

Workforce experts agree that ongoing education helps the employee continue to grow and evolve in his role within the company, while helping the employer to retain the employee.

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