The Fascinating Truth You Need to Know About the Skills Gap

The fascinating truth about the skills gapIt seems we’ve been hearing about a skills gap for the last ten years or so. If you Google “skills gap,” you will see differing opinions about its existence. What’s fascinating is some organizations are feeling this gap while others aren’t. However, recent research sheds light on why a skills gap is a myth for some occupations while the skills gap is a reality for others.

What factors create the perception of a skills gap when the opposite may be true? The goal of most organizations is to hire qualified applicants for job openings. Some organizations hire easily while others have positions that remain unfilled, sometimes for years.

Regardless of which side you’re on, there are a few things you need to know to successfully hire employees with the skills your organization needs.

Research from LiveCareer shows there is a disconnect between the skills listed in job postings and the skills job seekers include on their resumes.

What does this mean for organizations who are hiring? There is a strong possibility that you are missing qualified candidates.

Unfortunately, job seekers receive plenty of bad advice about resumes and how to rank highly in automated systems. Compounding that problem is the passive job seeker approached by a recruiter about an opening. Because the potential candidate has a job, is not actively looking, and knows you’ve pre-qualified them, there is little incentive for passive candidates to spend time crafting a resume that includes a complete picture of their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The research from LiveCareer also surfaces some fascinating details about the hard and soft skills employers want. Soft skills valued by employers include communication, customer service, problem-solving, and teamwork. Job seekers are omitting these soft skills from their resumes in favor of hard skills like budgeting, sales, and Microsoft® Word. What this means is qualified candidates are available; however, they are failing to match the requirements in job postings.

The report emphasizes the misalignment between job seekers and employers and the need for both to think differently about job postings and resumes. The bottom line for you as an employer is relying on automated systems causes you to miss qualified candidates thus reinforcing the perception that a skills gap exists.

What can you do to find qualified candidates?

1.Use multiple methods for qualifying candidates.

A resume is one part of the recruiting process. Review LinkedIn profiles to determine if the candidate has worked on similar projects or lists the skills you need. Think about the skills, attitudes, behaviors, and personality traits of your ideal candidate. Where do they work? What hobbies do they have? What groups do they belong to? Once you know where to look, reach out to these potential candidates with your awesome opportunity. Many of them might be eager to speak with you.

2.Look beyond the resume.

Read between the lines to determine whether your applicants have skills that have been omitted from the resume. Also, have conversations with candidates you may otherwise overlook. The results may surprise you.

As a small business hiring expert, I am constantly searching for ways to turn things sideways and upside down to find creative ways to reach ideal candidates. When Ikea’s customers opened the box that contained their new bookcase, desk, or other piece of furniture, in addition to the assembly instructions, they also received instructions for building their career with Ikea. What a creative way to recruit people who already know and love your products!

3.Consider nontraditional career paths.

A college education is one way to learn and develop the skills required in today’s workforce. However, there are many new options for learning as well. For many less specialized positions, requiring a degree may be costing you the best, most creative people in the market. There is a perception that college graduates outperform non-graduates. The opposite can often be the case. I find that some of the most motivated, creative, and skilled candidates lack a college degree. It’s heartbreaking when I have to tell a candidate a degree is required to do work for which they are already highly skilled and performing successfully. On the other hand, I have found college graduates who are completely unprepared for the realities of doing a job they spent four years (or more) preparing for—incurring a mountain of debt in the process.

The skills gap does exist in some occupations. In others, it is simply an incorrect assumption based on a misalignment between job postings and resumes. Using the tips provided, you can successfully navigate the skills gap to find the qualified candidates your organization needs.

Want help navigating the skills gap? 

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