January 26, 2023

4 minutes

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Talent Acquisition

What can you do to bridge the skills gap?

The skills shortage across the UK, and internationally, is no secret with 87% of businesses worldwide saying they have a skills gap or expect to have one within the next few years (McKinsey & Company).

As one of the leading Digital Transformation and IT resourcing partners in the UK, we have seen that translate across our clients. TechUK also recently reported in its latest Digital Economy Monitor that it’s one of the biggest challenges facing the technology sector right now.

It is clear that the skills gap is growing, and this reality contributes to the difficulties of sourcing qualified candidates and finding talent but what can organisations do to bridge the gap? To access the desired talent, firms may have to think about widening their recruitment search and finding solutions to upskill their workforce to bridge the skills gap in the company.

Our top 5 tips to help clients bridge the skills gaps:

1. Cross-training

In many organisations, employees who have been with the business for many years can often feel left behind. Cross-training identifies the skills and tasks needed in your business and helps to fill the gaps. Individuals such as business analysts, developers, project managers and many more also have transferrable skills they can utilise for cross-training. We’ve seen even in our own organisation that the vast majority of people are interested in learning new skills and intrigued by different departments. We’ve also seen that working in this way encourages employees to be more collaborative as they gain a wider skill set and more in-depth working knowledge. This increases employee engagement, motivation and should also heighten levels of staff retention.

2. Apprenticeship and graduate schemes

There are many advantages to not only the individual but also the business when hiring an apprentice or graduate. These schemes bring individuals in with fresh perspectives and innovation, they are likely to question how things work and offer solutions and proactive suggestions for the day-to-day running of the business. This builds a talent pipeline that helps with the planning of what your workforce needs to look like in the future, helping your new employees gain the valuable skills to fill the gaps. Hiring people of this level also helps to diversify your workforce with new attitudes and qualities increasing productivity and giving your business a creative edge.

3. Implementing a buddying system

Having a buddy system in your business can help new recruits feel welcomed and also speeds up the process of learning internal systems and processes. It shows new employees that you care about their experience and the sooner new hires understand the culture and their role, the sooner they become more productive and learn new skills. This system can also be replicated for existing employees to build their knowledge, learn new skills and provide a different perspective eg. An established marketer learning new skills in technology is likely to offer a different perspective that may not have been considered by the existing team. The more insights an individual receives from their buddy the faster they will learn and the quicker businesses will recognise the positive value.  

4. Returner programmes

Returner programmes are a fantastic way to tackle skills shortages as you have access to a pool of people who either have the right skills or who can be easily trained. Businesses may not have considered sources to contact returners and it is usually a positive way to diversify your workforce. A successful returner programme also has a positive impact on brand image demonstrating that your organisation is open to non-linear career paths.

5. Removing barriers to accessibility

In the post-Covid workplace, the huge number of roles that are now remote or hybrid has created an opportunity to grow a much more diverse talent pool within your organisation. Consider the skills you need to bridge and if they can be offered through workers who are most likely looking for remote roles including those in other countries, people with physical disabilities and neurodiverse people and many more diverse pools of people who typically wouldn’t suit five working days in an office. Throughout our 22 years’ as a leading resource partner, we have seen a huge commercial benefit to adopting this approach when recruiting for technology roles.  

To conclude, there are many ways across an organisation to bridge the skills gap, but businesses will need to expand their focus, consider upskilling opportunities and explore different talent pools. It could leave you with a stronger workforce.