As the years pass, the world sees innovations in every sphere of human activities. Innovative individuals develop new technologies to solve different problems in the market. Every technology requires a specific set of skills for its operation.
When a new technology comes into existence, knowledge about it is scarce. It takes a lot of time for this technology to be accepted by the market. Transitioning to new technology is a very risky and exhaustive process, but to keep up with the market this shift is needed. Think of how Stripe migrated its tech stack and how facebook launched React Native. An enterprise’s workforce might have little or less knowledge and skills to incorporate the new technology. Most of the time, enterprises hire new skilled employees either via direct hiring mechanisms or outsourcing.
A skill gap is observed between the freshers and the senior employees. Where the newcomers can handle the technology with ease, the previous generation of employees seems to struggle to do so. As the world is experiencing digital advancement and traditional working rituals are being overthrown, higher demand for digital skills is being observed in various industries. Individuals that lag in acquiring modern skills fail to compete with the newer generations.
An enterprise must overcome this skill gap to keep up with the speeding transition to new technologies. An enterprise must understand skill gaps and find means to overcome them.
This article is a complete guide to understanding ways of closing the skill gap in an organization and improving the enterprise’s custom product development. Follow along and know everything you need to know about the skill gap and its resolution.
A Detailed Account Of The Skill Gap
Over time, new technology and skills come into the market. Big advancements in the field of machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and web development are being observed in different industries around the globe. A few years before, these technologies were nothing but science fiction. Automation was a concept that fascinated everyone as something from a distant future.
People belonging to older generations tend to have a hard time understanding new technology and working with it. Differences between skills can also be observed even in the same generation. This is mostly due to an educational and technological gap between individuals of the same generation. The skill gap can be defined as the difference between skills required for a particular task and the skills that are available in an enterprise. The skill gap holds a different meaning for an individual and an enterprise.
For an individual, a skill gap can be an under-qualification for certain jobs. They will face high competition from the generations of employees that come afterward with high specialization in the latest technology trends. Underskilled employees face a huge threat of being dismissed by their organization. Finding new jobs becomes hard if an individual is not able to keep up with the new technologies and skills.
For an enterprise, having a skill gap between its employees means it cannot keep up with the pacing of transformation in technology. This can put an enterprise at a disadvantage to its competitors. Filling this gap also means huge capital investment in hiring new employees or training the regular ones. This increases the staff turnover rate putting the enterprise at a disadvantage.
The skill gap reduces the productivity of a business. Many employees are not able to operate new technology smoothly. An enterprise might face a decline in generated revenue.
A larger skill gap causes an abundance of the underskilled workforce and surges the demand for high-skilled jobs. These statistics are drastic for any industry. Overall, the industry faces a decline in turnover.
Causes Of Skill Gap
The skill gap in any industry is due to a lot of reasons. These reasons change from changing technology to means of acquiring new skills. Take a look at some of the causes of industry skill gaps.
In just 50 years, the world has experienced a drastic change in technology. Gadgets and devices that were once considered friction are now in our hands. Machine learning and artificial intelligence that no one thought would be possible for 100s of years are now more advanced than ever. The IT profession has turned upside down in only a few years.
With these new technologies that have penetrated the professional world, individuals seeking jobs need to acquire numerous skills that are in demand. With these changing technologies, applicants must keep updated with contemporary skills and technologies. They have to constantly upgrade by acquiring new skills.
Older generations that did not grow up with the same tools in their hand cannot compete with upcoming generations in terms of skills. The digital skills that were not in existence in their generation are now being demanded everywhere.
The new potential workforce has meddled with the latest technologies from a very young age. Their proficiency in handling the latest technologies and devices gives them an edge over the pride generations. This generation gap makes thought for senior employees compete with new ones. They have to put extreme hard work into acquiring the same level of expertise as the new ones.
A few decades ago, computers were as large as a hall and required extreme sophistication. This made it impossible for the common public to access them. Educational institutions could only impart theoretical knowledge on these devices. As times changed, computers became compact and more accessible to the common public. Similarly, other technologies have found their way into people’s hands. Industries started adopting these technologies for better production.
New skills came into demand. These demands for new skills caused a change in education. New curriculums were crafted to offer students knowledge about new technologies. Educational institutions started teaching skills demanded in industries to their students. Two generations of employees that had different education acquired different skills. This difference in education leads to a skill gap.
Lack Of Training Opportunities
There was a time when industries hired employees based on their qualifications and offered them specialized training to offer the skills required to work in their industry. New employees needed to complete a training period before they could join in with regular employees. Similar training puts different employees on the same page regarding skills. This reduced any chance of a skill gap in an enterprise.
This trend of providing specialized training to employees is declining rapidly. Enterprises hunt for job-ready employees that are already proficient in desired skills. This trend resonates with a vast technology gap between the skill sets of employees hired.
Skills In Demand
Now and then, some skills retire, and new sets of skills enter the market. Demand for some skills declines with time, while new skills for operating technology arise. Keeping the knowledge of needed skills is very important for individuals to have an upper edge in securing a job.
Industry-demanded skills are of two categories: hard and soft skills. Below are the skills that are demanded highly by industries in present times.
The skills specific to a job can be called hard skills. These skills are the qualifications of an applicant. These skills are different in different jobs. Some of the hard skills in demand at present are as follows:
- Blockchain – With the advent of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology gained fame. There were a lot of applications discovered that could make use of blockchain. Nowadays, various enterprises rely on blockchains to organize their network. Therefore they require skilled applicants that understand blockchain technology in depth. This requirement makes blockchain skills a strong demand.
- Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning – Numerous multinational companies invest their money in acquiring artificial intelligence and artificial learning and artificial intelligence. Whether it is to develop automated cars, AI writers, or analyze data with the help of machine learning, individuals having proficiency in machine learning and artificial intelligence are acquired by MNCs.
- Cloud Computation – Cloud computing has become a prominent field recently. Instead of running heavy codes on light machines, cloud computing offers access to powerful computers to run heavy codes instead. Cloud Computing requires programming skills for optimizing code and API integration. Various companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon are constantly advancing in the field of cloud computing, making it a highly demanded skill.
- UX Design – User experience has always been a priority for every business. As the world of websites and e-commerce is increasing, web developers seek creative individuals to improve the user experience for businesses. Learning UX designing is a crucial hard skill that can power an individual’s career.
- Marketing – The industry of marketing and advertisements is making a lot of money because of increasing options for advertisement. From Google searches to social media feeds, users can see advertisements everywhere. Businesses and marketing agencies seek creative employees that can offer marketing solutions.
- Data Management – Data warehousing and analysis is done by many enterprises. This helps them analyze their progress and promote their growth. Businesses hire data engineers to ensure smooth and secure data storage and analysis. This increases the demand for data management skills.
Soft skills are qualities that are intrinsic to an individual’s personality. Hard Soft skills are necessary to adapt to an enterprise’s work environment and promote healthy growth. Some soft skills in demand are as follows:
- Creative Thinking – Creativity ignites innovation to solve problems. Businesses go for applicants with strong creative skills as they are potential candidates who can help businesses solve business problems and promote growth.
- Teamwork And Collaborative Spirit – Working in a business requires collaboration and cooperation with other employees. Projects can be assigned collaboratively to multiple employees. Individuals without collaborative skills will fail to work in a team and reduce productivity. This, individuals showing team spirit are preferred.
- Emotional Intelligence – Working in a corporate environment can be stressful. Increasing workload and nearing deadlines can put a lot of pressure on an individual’s mind. Employees with emotional intelligence can endure such tough conditions and are preferred. As a job seeker, you should work on your emotional intelligence to improve your chances of securing a good position.
- Leadership – Various job titles require leadership qualities to lead a team of employees. One must know how to convince team members to follow their lead. Individuals with leadership skills can procure higher positions in an enterprise.
- Adaptability To Different Work Environments – In the present times, the workspace can be anywhere. There is no need to sit in a cubicle for long hours. People can choose to work from home. Hiring managers go for individuals who can offer the same output regardless of where they work.
- Goal Orientation – Every enterprise has its own goals to achieve. Goal-oriented individuals are likely to support their enterprise in achieving its own goals. Such individuals make good employees who work hard to achieve their ambitions and are preferred by businesses.
- Decisiveness – The ability to make reasonable decisions quickly is demanded in various professions.
- Relationship Building – Employees that can cooperate with their colleagues, and build strong relations with their companions and seniors are likely to take up positions that require a sense of responsibility.
Is There A Skill Gap In Your Company?
Closing the skill gap in businesses to ensure smooth operation and high productivity. The first step should always be the analysis of the current scenario of your enterprise. It is followed by efforts to close the skill gap that requires time and capital investment. Before taking any step in this direction, proper analysis of skill differences in your enterprises is necessary. Following is the guide for understanding the procedure of analyzing skill gaps in a work environment.
- Tally The Skills Required For Present Jobs In The Company
If you suspect a skill gap in your workforce, you should first list the skills required for a particular job and then compare the skills available in your workforce.
- Predict Future Skills By Analyzing Trends
Market trends show signs of inclination towards a certain technology long before. Inclination towards cryptocurrency and blockchain indicated an upcoming demand for skills related to blockchain technology. A similar analysis of trends can be made to predict skills that will be important soon. This way, new employees can be hired considering these skills.
- Analyze And Identify Internal Skills Gaps
Identification of the current skill set of employees is the next step in closing the skill gap. Through service and assessments, analysis of performance, and interviews, information regarding the employees’ skills can be collected. After identification of available skills, their comparison to the list of required skills will give you the skills that are missing in your workforce.
- Device A Strategy To Close The Data Gap And Implement It
Once the identification of the lacking skills is completed, a strategy to overcome the gap should be devised. We will discuss this in a while.
Closing The Tech Skill Gap
Once the extent of the skill gap in the organization has been identified, efforts to overcome the gap should be made. Enterprises can hire new employees or offer mentorships on necessary skills to current employees to close the skill gap. Both methods allow enterprises to address the need of bringing employees to a similar level of skills.
An individual can help fill up the difference in skills by analyzing current skills, determining the shortcomings, and inculcating the lacking skills.
The road map for closing the skill gap in an enterprise can be stated below.
Hiring Skilled Applicants
The fastest way to fill in the requirement for skilled individuals is to hire new employees. While hiring, businesses should learn to prioritize skills that would be valuable in the long run. Searching the market for employees with a set of skills allows enterprises to upskill their workforce quickly.
As a business, you can develop your employees by offering them training to acquire desired skill sets. Several organizations and educational institutions offer training programs to employees of businesses. Enterprise prices can leverage their service and help employees gather new skills.
Building A Work Environment That Inspires Learning
Closing the skill gap can be made easy by promoting a work environment where employees motivate each other. This objective can be obtained by allowing employees to work in teams. These teams should contain individuals with contrasting sets of skills. Working in teams allows employees to communicate regularly and exchange their knowledge on different skills. Healthy peer pressure inspires employees to work on their skill development.
Track Progress And Impact
It is essential to check in regularly to see the results of your efforts on your workforce. Regular analysis of the skills of your employees should be done to ensure your efforts to train them are bearing fruit. If an employee struggles with understanding the new skills, create tailored learning paths for each of them to make their journey of acquiring new skills easy.
An enterprise has a lot of teams working together for a common goal. Every team consists of similarly skilled workers. Though, the level of skills could differ. Organizing workshops specific to a team will help its members improve their skills and reach the same level. This also inspires team members to empower others. Working in a team allows them to work and take breaks together. They can learn from each other. This way, the skill gap inside a team can be resolved.
If senior employees are more skilled and experienced in using a certain technology, freshers can be paired up with them so that they can learn the skills required for the smooth operation of the technology. Seniors can be inclusive of their juniors and help them with every step while learning new skills.
Individual employees can enroll in certification courses offered by educational institutions, Microsoft, Google, and other firms to learn the new skills required in the industry. These certificates are valued by human resource managers and give applicants an edge in securing a job.
Closing an organization’s skill gap requires a lot of planning and implementation. For smaller enterprises closing this gap in a single go might be possible. In such cases, an enterprise needs to set reasonable goals and improve employees’ skills step by step.
Encourage Learning Inside The Office
Enterprises can use a learning management platform to teach their employees different kinds of skills. These platforms are used to distribute learning resources to employees and supervise employee training.
Use A Variety Of Learning Formats
While learning new skills, an employee is just like a student. A single training method doesn’t need to be suitable for every employee. Instead, enterprises should mix up learning formats to ensure employees can choose a format they are comfortable with.
Take Steps To Motivate Employees To
Employees often require strong motivation to continue learning new skills. These motivations can come from holding orientation sessions, offering bonuses and benefits for training, and promotions.
The skills required to operate these new technologies also change with changing technologies used in industries. Skills that were relevant a few decades ago can be meaningless now. With changing times the demand for different skills changes. This also causes a change in the number of individuals having the desired skills.
The gap between the required skills and available skills is termed a skill gap. An enterprise, as well as an individual, needs to keep up with this change. An enterprise that fails to acquire contemporary skills can lose to its competitors. Such losses can cause a great decline in productivity and revenue generation. For an individual, it means under qualification for various jobs.
Enterprises would prefer hiring more skilled individuals. Then, overcoming the skill gap becomes crucial for an individual as well as an organization. Enterprises can overcome this issue by hiring skilled employees or by training their current employees. Individuals can fight the skill gap by leveraging various resources to develop soft skills and hard skills required by the industry. This way, an enterprise can upskill its team and use the latest technologies for smarter product development.