Tailored, Targeted Approach Needed to Close Skills Gap

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Image Source: https://quarterly.talenteconomy.io/issue/fall-2017/is-the-skills-gap-real/

The skills gap is a hot topic across industry right now; it seems one can hardly attend an event, scroll through Twitter, or even turn on the TV without hearing the term repeated by both business leaders and politicians alike. It certainly is a real thing. By some accounts, there is a near universal demand for computer science skills from the fastest growing companies – a demand for which there is simply inadequate supply, ultimately leading to the creation of the so-called skills gap.

That is how the story goes in the tech industry. How does the situation look for other sectors of the economy? According to a report by Burning Glass Technologies compiled for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, it depends.

While some industries are clearly affected by a lack of available talent, others are hardly impacted or impacted in less obvious ways.

It’s no surprise that the gap is pronounced most within highly skilled occupations (healthcare professionals, engineers, computer roles, etc). For middle skilled occupations (administrative, maintenance, repair), it is more nuanced. After years of supply exceeding demand during times of high unemployment, demand has now trickled ahead of supply – with a catch. As employers continue to raise standards for hiring, an obvious misalignment between hiring and training emerges. Meanwhile, for low skilled occupations, supply significantly exceeds demand.

This research is unique in that it employs an innovative model to carefully analyze employment statistics at an occupational level, role by role, drawing on data from both the supply and demand side of the equation.

The results suggest that proposed solutions to the skills gap issue must be specific to each industry in order to be successful. They also suggest that there is a strong need for improved employer leadership within the traditional education and workforce systems.

Armed with this insight, business leaders, training providers, and policy leaders should reconsider the current “one size fits all” approach to tackling the skills gap problem, and instead, act together to direct resources in tailored, targeted ways.

For all key insights, industry specific statistics, and suggested actions, download the full (free) report from Burning Glass Technologies.