It Takes a Village: To Overcome Talent Shortages, HR Pros May Need the Community's Help

It Takes a Village: To Overcome Talent Shortages, HR Pros May Need the Community's Help
From Recruiter - August 11, 2016

Despite the recruiting and HR industries best efforts, the often bemoaned skills shortage seems to be getting worse, according toThe Society for Human Resource Managements(SHRM)New Talent Landscape report. After surveying more than 3,000 US-based HR pros, SHRM found that 68 percent of them were struggling to fill full-time regular positions. Thats an 18 percent increase from 2013, when only 50 percent of HR pros reported difficulty.

Jen Schramm, manager of SHRMs workforce trends and forecasting program, says the increase may be a problem of both supply of and demand for talent.

Just a few years ago, we were in the middle of a recovery that was considered by many to be a jobless recovery, Schramm says. There werent was many positions open in 2013 compared to now.

Now that the economy has recovered further and more employers are looking to hire, it makes sense that more HR pros would report difficulties in filling roles. Some of these very same HR pros may have had no difficulties in 2013 simply because they werent hiring.

The supply side, however, is where we see the impact of the skills shortage plaguing many organizations in a variety of industries. During the recession, many baby boomers who had planned on retiring decided not to. The economy was too precarious at the time. Now, however, these same baby boomers are starting to leave the workforceby the thousands every day.Employers must replace them as they go, but the new supply of labor isnt quite up to snuffsimply because these younger workers have not been in the game for as long as their baby boomer counterparts have.

The new entrants to the workforce wont necessarily have the same level of experience as those who might be leaving those jobs, for obvious reasons, Schramm says. They havent been working as long.

According to the HR pros SHRM surveyed, todays labor pool is lacking in both basic and applied skills.

At the basic level, HR pros say todays candidates fall short in the following areas:

-writing inEnglish;
- basic computer skills;
- spoken English language;
- reading comprehension;
- and mathematics.

As for applied skills, HR pros believe todays candidates could stand to improve in these areas:

- critical thinking/problem-solving;
- professionalism/work ethic;
- leadership;
- written communications;
- and teamwork/collaboration.

Many of the HR pros surveyed said they believe training and development programs could help close the skills gap, with 42 percent saying that training existing employees is an effective tactic and 40 percent saying that expanding training programs for new hires could work as well.

Unfortunately, this solution isnt as simple as it seems on the surface.

You Cant Train Without a Budgetand Many HR Pros Dont Have Them

HR pros see training as a potential way to alleviate [the skills shortage], but its not uncommon for HR pros to not have training budgets or to have stagnant budgets that havent increased over the last few years, Schramm says.

According to SHRMs report, 31 percent of HR pros say their organizations do not have training budgets. Of those pros who do have budgets, a half of them say their budgets have not increased in the last year, and 11 percent say their budgets have actually decreased. Training programs wont make much of a difference if HR pros dont have enough money to run them effectively.

Schramm believes these attenuated training budgets may be the legacy of the Great Recession. Because the boomers were putting off retirement, employers had less of a need to train new employees, so many organizations cut training programs in an effort to control costs. Unfortunately, as the economy recovered and the boomers began leaving, training remained on the back burner.


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