How much do you know about the skills gap?

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Reading time: 6 min.
Written by Shea Corrigan
Published on

How much do you know about the skills gap? In other words, how aware are you of how the skills gap has shaped HR over the last five years and the challenges facing HR departments to meet the demands of the present and the future? Of the best practices to prepare and train your workforce with skills development?

The skills gap is affecting companies around the world and it isn't only about business outcomes and the bottom line. It affects the talent experience of the people at your company and your ability to help them chart new courses for their careers. 

We've all heard of a skills gap or growing skills gap but do you really understand what that means?

7 questions to test your skills gap knowledge

1. What percentage of organizations feel they lack the skills to meet new demands? 

A. 40%
B. 60%
C. 80%

2. What percentage of workers want to learn new skills?

A. 77%
B. 53%
C. 26%

3. How many workers feel supported by their companies' skill development programs?

A. 12%
B. 34%
C. 63%

4. How much does the skills gap cost companies a year, on average?

A. $300,000
B. $800,000
C. $1,000,000

5. The current skills gap is… 

A. the gap between what a candidate says on their resume and what they can actually do
B. the gap affecting your company right now
C. the gap between digital and traditional skills

6. The future skills gap is…

A. about predicting which employees you can replace with AI
B. about the skills you need for the Metaverse
C. about how you prepare for the future

7. Which skill gap should be your HR priority? 

A. Current Skills Gap
B. Future Skills Gap
C. Both

Ready to bridge the gap? See how you did.

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Skills gap test answers

1. C: 80% of organizations feel they lack the skills to meet new demands. 

This oft-cited little stat comes from a 2018 Gartner report discussing how HR leaders can drive innovation and transformation. Much of this is related to the pressures surrounding digital transformation and a rather, if we’re being honest, pessimistic view of their people: The report also cites 64% of managers who don’t think their employees are able to keep pace.

But as we gently allude to whenever given the opportunity, the 80% of organizations facing this problem may need to take a little responsibility because…

2. A: 77% of workers want to learn new skills

You may be worried about employee retention, but the fact — according to a 2021 report from PwC Global — is that your people are just as worried about job security. 39% think their job will be obsolete in five years.

So it’s not surprising that an incredible 77% of workers are eager to learn new skills or even go so far as completely retrain. 74% even see it as a matter of personal responsibility — and while we’d argue that it's just as much your responsibility as HR to help them, it’s heartening to know that the buy-in is already there. 

Your people want to develop, they want to help close skills gaps. Are you prepared to help them chart that course?

3. B: Only 34% of workers feel supported by their companies' skill development programs.

This is a tough one for anyone who prides themselves on creating a people-centered place of work, according to a 2020 report from MIT and Deloitte. 34% is a little over a third. That means for every three employees you have, only one of them feels supported. Your people value skills as much as you do — but they don’t feel like their companies are able to provide them the opportunities they need or desire to develop.

Crucially, the report goes on to point out the importance of providing personalized opportunities and offerings:  

"For many workers, more skills—and even better experiences—without more opportunity is insufficient. If workers don’t value the opportunities they’re offered—if those opportunities don’t speak to their passion, potential, and purpose, for example—they can and will likely leave."

4. B: The skill gap costs companies a year, on average, $800,000.

This stat comes from a 2017 CareerBuilder survey in which HR managers reported that long job vacancies, attributed to the skills gap, cost their companies more than $800,000 a year on average. 

Now, keep in mind: That figure does not include inflation or the budget-busting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent Great Resignation/Relocation/Reshuffle — whatever you want to call it. Which is just to say: The cost of an unaddressed skills gap on  your company is likely even higher. 

5. B: The current skills gap is the gap affecting your company right now.

Okay we admit it: You may face a bit of a skills gap if your recent hire overstated their familiarity with Python or if your company is struggling with digital transformation, but writ large, the current skills gap is simply that: the skills gap facing your company right now, in the present tense, current day. 

These are the skills your people need to chart their path today, tomorrow, this week — to do their jobs to the best of their ability and to achieve their (and your!) goals with maximum efficiency and ease.

6. C: The future skills gap is about preparing for the future.

If you answered “A: about predicting which employees you can replace with AI” we need to have a separate chat about AI! The correct answer is, of course, about preparing for the future, in the myriad shapes and forms the future can take. 

The other favorite stat of HR professionals — that 80% of jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t exist yet — speaks to just how much is unknown about the future. But even if we don't know how technology will shape our future workplace, we do know how it can help us prepare for that future

7. C: Both — HR departments need to solve both skills gaps simultaneously.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to address both your skills gaps at the same time. Focus too much on the future and you risk the aforementioned cost that comes with a workforce ill-equipped for the tasks at hand. Focus too much on the short-term and you (and your people) will be blindsided by the next wave of skill evolution.

Luckily, a people-centered talent experience that leverages the power of AI technology to dynamically map skills and match opportunities in real-time can have a rapid, lasting impact on your employees careers, to retain their talent and plan for the future — bridging both current and future skills gaps at the same time. 

Still curious about the skills gap?

The skills gap is an immense challenge for companies, but you're not alone in this battle and with the right tools and planning, you can not only bridge the current skills gap affecting your company today, but you'll be well on your way to solving your future gap too.

Ready to chart a new course for your people at work? To learn more about the skills gap or get started on the solution with our AI-powered talent experience platform, book a demo today.

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