The talent quandary is a tough one to crack. Ask the jobseekers, and they rue the unavailability of good jobs. Go over to talent managers, though, and they say the right talent is just not available. So, what really is this talent shortage organizations are faced with?
Executives in most organizations recognize and accept a talent shortage, but organizations are surprisingly lackadaisical, continuing to employ traditional strategies for hiring and training. Along with disruptions to markets and economies and the force of technology, this has serious implications on the value and availability of and need for workforce skills.
Why do we need skilled workers? Because they are intrinsic to the organizational mission of innovating, delivering value, growing the business, and generating new jobs. They are a significant factor affecting expansion into new locations – 88% of executives in an IBM survey felt labor availability, cost, and quality were key to deciding on growth and market expansion.
And success in the workforce requires not just digital skills but increasingly is dependent on the level of behavioral or soft skills. The balance has over the years tilted strongly in favor of the latter; this, interestingly, is due in part to the former. Technical skill gaps continue to be a matter of concern – their shelf life is now just 2-3 years, according to UB Pravin Rao, the COO of Indian IT major Infosys. Half -lives of professional skills are down from 10-15 years to just 5, with technical skills at even shorter half-lives. What you may learn is more important than what you know already, and asking the right questions appears to be more important than knowing the answers. Organizations are realizing the importance of critical thinking and problem-solving to drive innovation and take data-driven decisions. Creativity, empathy, and quick decision-making are among other priority areas.
Take a look at the following statistics:
The technological onslaught has made human learning all the more critical. About half of all jobs will be automated within 15 years, according to Edward D Hess, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia. If your employees can learn, relate, and think on an ongoing basis, your workforce quality will be on the up, and you will stand apart from and ahead of competition. And this must be addressed fast, given that the global talent shortage by 2030 could touch 85 million people, suggesting a massive shortage of workers with the right skills.
What becomes really important, then, is to bring in the right learning culture. “Never stop learning” is no cliché – rapidly-changing business environments and new ways of work make it crucial to foster a culture of learning. Train your people – your biggest asset – and set them on the right paths for careers and development, and nothing will be able to keep your productivity or workplace happiness down.
The Corporate Executive Board – or CEB – defines true learning culture as “a culture that supports an open mindset, an independent quest for knowledge, and shared learning directed toward the mission and goals of the organization.” Unfortunately, true learning culture is found in just 10% of organizations. This is what you stand to gain:
To create a true culture of learning, you need continuous measurement, disciplined processes, and countering objections. Here are the steps you need to take:
The skills shortage is not going away anytime soon, and education, industry, and the government must collaborate proactively to address this gap. Place skills front and center of workforce strategies, and bring in the right learning culture now!