Skills are a hot topic of late. The skills gap is keeping many business leaders up at night, under-utilisation of skills is under increasing scrutiny, and there’s a debate over what skills today’s workers should develop for tomorrow.
The £6.33 billion skills shortfall
Whereas before, getting the right skills in-house was as simple as putting up a job, the reality now is much more complex. 91 per cent of UK organisations struggled to find workers with the right skills over the past 12 months. 61 per cent of CEOs believe the skills shortage has worsened over the past year. The end result has been a stymying of productivity, critical projects put on hold, recruitment costs skyrocketing (to the tune of £1.23 billion annually) and a lengthy time-to-hire.
Indeed, the shortfall in skills is costing businesses an extra £6.33 billion every year. Due to recruitment fees, inflated salaries, temporary staff and upskilling. This figure doesn’t include the loss of work, productivity and other opportunities because of a lack of talent.
Shortage to reach 85 million workers
Traditional ways of sourcing, tracking and retaining skills aren’t working. A better way is needed. As the saying goes, what is measured can be managed. Quantifying skills is the first step in mitigating the skills challenges facing every business in 2019. It’s worth doing this now, to combat the worsening talent shortage – expected to reach 85.2 million workers globally by 2030.
Greater agility needed
Plus, quantifying and tracking skills allows for greater agility. 47 per cent of organisations feel that they aren’t as agile as they need to be. They cannot effectively respond to market pressures, global trends, political trends and disruption.
Growing the knowledge economy
Then there’s the fact that organisations are increasingly trading on the knowledge economy. Professional and business services will be hardest hit by a talent shortage – and they account for a third of the UK’s economy.
They have to prove to their customers that the people working for the organisation are the best possible. That their workers are uniquely qualified for each project and task. This has to be regardless of job title or work style too. We must move beyond traditional norms, like the 9-5, to include a wider talent pool. Tomorrow’s leaders will be organisations who embrace their Total Talent. Who resource from their permanent workers, contractors, freelancers, alumni and people within the recruitment chain.
Mapping all skills
The only way to do this effectively is to have a clearly quantified skills taxonomy linking to an up-to-date, real-time profile of worker skills. Moving away from stagnant CVs.
To understand exactly what skills are available, where, when, and how up-to-date they are. By mapping out your organisation’s Total Talent skills, you have full visibility over all possible ways to get work done. Furthermore, this depth of skills data can aid with future workforce and upskilling strategy.
Changing demand for skills
Speaking of which, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create a set of roles and skills that we cannot yet predict. There’ll be people placed at the junction of man and machine, people who judge the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) and those who help others with job displacement due to automation. Transferable and soft skills are going to be in high demand, but these are often subjective. Finding ways to measure such skills and to track them through a worker’s career will be paramount.
For the people
Not just for organisations, but for workers themselves. People are struggling to see what skills they’ll need to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Indeed, some don’t really understand the skills that they need for today. By mapping skills, workers get a clearer idea of what skills they must develop. For that long awaited promotion, to ensure they’re not automated out of a role, and to simply make their daily work more efficient.
Quantifying skills ultimately helps organisations to make better use of their existing talent. 36 per cent of workers (over 50 million people) feel that they are underemployed. That has a knock-on effect on job satisfaction, motivation, engagement and retention. Plus, productivity for your organisation and the industry as a whole.
How to quantify your skills
The reasons for quantifying skills are abundantly clear. How you go about it is another matter. In the next article in this 3-part series, we’ll offer advice on how business leaders can begin quantifying their organisation’s skills.