By SARA YEE
THE 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, conducted by the Manpower Group, has indicated a worrying trend, as figures from 2014–2015 show that the skills gap is widening.
Statistics reveal that Japan, Peru and Hong Kong peak at the highest at 83%, 68% and 65% respectively, continuing on from the previous year (2014).
The top three jobs that employers find difficult to fill are skilled trade workers, sales representatives, and engineers.
What are some of the lessons we can learn from these startling numbers?
Countries that have apprenticeship programmes have been shown to have lower youth unemployment rates. This is because, with hard skills, it is easier for people to transition to the working life from school with relevant industry skills.
Apprenticeships can be modified and implemented even in non-skilled trade areas – tutelage from an experienced mentor can help a new worker to learn quickly.
When I first came into my internship, I was given the opportunity to grow and try out things under the tutelage of several mentors. This served to improve my strengths, as I could try various things and learn from my mistakes.
Matching skills with people
Understanding people and where their subset of skill lies is important. If you find that their job does not suit them, consider allowing them to explore other options.
When given autonomy, people with a particular skillset will naturally gravitate towards jobs that give them a sense of fulfilment.
Giving people space to find their area of specialty may take time. It can be beneficial to let employees carry on in their current role, while allowing them to expand into new areas.
This will be of mutual benefit to the employee and the employer, as time is given to explore strengths best utilised to help achieve organisational goals.
Expand your boundaries
In the same study by Manpower Group, it is suggested that employers should expand their recruiting scope to people who are not their “usual” target audience.
Opening such a doorway can prove invaluable, as new minds from outside the organisation can provide a fresh insight.
There are many graduates who, rather than being hired on the strength of their degree, are hired on the basis of skills cultivated within their time of study.
In many cases, successful careers are established despite graduates being employed outside their area of interest, providing that skills and attitude prevail over grades and qualifications.
What awaits in 2016?
Humans are inherently bad at predicting the future, but cultivating skills that are proven to lead to success is the most fruitful way of shaping our future.
Leon C. Megginson wrote:
“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”