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Closing the Skills Gap: 5 Ideas for Locating Tough-to-Find Talent

What is the skills gap? Employers claim that they cannot find workers with the skills they need; in fact, according to a recent industry survey, 52 percent of U.S. employers are struggling to fill open positions.

One source of this problem could be the disconnect between how educators and employers rate college graduates’ preparedness. While 72 percent of educational institutions believe recent graduates are ready for work, only 42 percent of employers agree, according to a McKinsey study. Also, traditional educational institutions can’t accommodate our fast-changing market, because they can’t change curricula and introduce new classes at the pace required by changing industry requirements.

So what’s the answer? Here are 5 suggestions for how to close the skills gap:

  • Set up an internal training and development program. Many of today’s most successful companies, like General Electric, Intel and McDonald’s, make leadership development a priority. GE invests roughly $1 billion annually on training and educational opportunities for employees, while both Intel and McDonald’s have company-specific ‘universities’ where employees to go to learn new skills and develop existing ones.
  • Create a mentorship program. They not only prepare employees for leadership and management positions, they’ve been proven to have a positive effect on morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates.
  • Partner with local colleges to recruit and also offer programs that ensure students in your industry are getting the specialized skills they need. This can tie in with an internship program.
  • Promote current employees. Instead of always hiring externally, consider training a current employee who you know is already the right fit culturally. Promoting from within not only saves time and money, but it can also improve morale and increase retention—by sending the message that you value your employees and by proving that you provide growth opportunities.
  • Consider rehiring former employees. This would depend, of course, on the circumstances surrounding the employee’s original departure, but rehiring a former employee could be a viable option for filling certain open positions.

It’s possible to eliminate the skills gap if employers create more training programs and partner with external organizations. Job seekers should also step up and pursue skill development after researching what will help them get ahead in their industry. With both sides strategically investing their time and resources, we can help close the skills gap and drive down unemployment.

At Synerfac, we’re glad to do our part to close the skills gap for our clients and candidates. We work hard to make sure we’re matching the right people with the right opportunities.