How will you tackle the domestic and international skills gap?

Friday, February 22, 2013 | Posted by: Grant Thornton

Row of technology workers in boiler suitsA global skills shortage epidemic is highlighted in our latest survey. We ask how can growing businesses navigate the recruitment and employee skills gap – and suggest some ways to alleviate the issue.

Almost four in 10 businesses around the world (39%) are struggling to recruit the right people, with a lack of technical skills given as the main reason, according to Grant Thornton’s latest International Business Report (IBR) Global economy in 2013: uncertainty weighing on growth.

The IBR survey of 6,400 chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives from all industry sectors also revealed other hiring issues, including: lack of work experience (56%), qualifications (54%) and restrictions on immigration (21%).

This ‘skills shortage epidemic’ is a real concern for dynamic businesses as it may directly affect business productivity, future growth and profitability,

So what can be done to alleviate the problem?

Paul Raleigh, Global leader of Strategic Development & Growth at Grant Thornton International, said:

“With unemployment running so high in many mature economies, it is somewhat ironic that business leaders are concerned by a lack of skills. In the short-term they will need to plug these skills gaps with people from outside the organisation as best they can. But in the longer-term they need to invest in their internal training programmes to mould the people that will help them deliver on strategy, innovate and ultimately grow.”

Another solution could be maximising the return you get from your current workforce. Employee reward is a key issue for most organisations and strategies on how to ensure staff are effective and efficient are detailed in our report, The War for Talent – What it means for the bottom line
  
For those operating overseas, and in the BRIC nations in particular, there are other potential workarounds depending on the sector you’re in.

Some economies, for example, have focused on developing sector specialisms to attract the right talent, for example India and Brazil offer a technology focus.

And if nothing is done? Paul Raleigh warns:

“The situation amounts to a huge waste of human capital, which is good for neither businesses nor the unemployed. Ultimately economic growth suffers: businesses are constrained from expanding and people without work don’t have sufficient income to create demand for products and services – it’s a vicious cycle. Efforts to boost skills should be high on the public policy agenda.”

Image: (CC) Jurvetson/Flickr