Closing the Skills Gap

Closing the Skills Gap - Pathway HR Solutions

Have you had a difficult time filling job openings?  If so, it may be due to the tightening job market that is in favor of job seekers.  The good news is that, with a little creative hiring and flexibility, you can close the gap between the skills that your company needs and the skills that are available in the marketplace.  

The Society of Human Resources (SHRM) suggests three ways to close the skills gap.

1. Support multiple training pathways.

For decades, high school graduates and job seekers have been told that earning a college degree is the best way to launch a sustainable career.   Making matters worse, employers embraced that advice as part of their hiring process and often disregarded non-degreed applicants.  However, this myopic view of how to obtain the best skilled workers overlooks the amount of power that employers have in creating the workforce that they need.  

If your organization is struggling with a gap in required skills, consider offering apprenticeships, co-ops, and other forms of on-the-job training.  Hiring for aptitude and not focusing solely on formal education could be the best solution to address a skills gap that you’re facing.

2. Hire older workers.

For various reasons, including financial and social, people are exiting the workforce much later than in decades past.  This has created an environment in which workers aged 55 and older, Baby Boomers, have become one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce. 

Fast food giant, McDonald’s, is embracing this group of workers by partnering with AARP to close a customer service skills gap.  Melissa Kersey, McDonald’s U.S. Chief People Officer, said that “being calm under pressure, solving problems and dealing with tough customers makes older workers ideal for the job.”  An unexpected, but welcome, benefit of hiring mature workers?  Two-way mentoring between older and younger workers.

3. Hire formerly incarcerated workers.

The risk in hiring a formerly incarcerated worker may not be as high as you assume.  In a 2018 survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, 82 percent of managers surveyed reported that the quality of hire for workers with criminal records was as high as, or higher than, that for workers without records.  Similarly, 67 percent of HR professionals surveyed by SHRM reported the same opinion.

Bottom Line

Even in a tight job market, good candidates still exist, but to find them, you must be flexible.  By considering non-traditional candidates, you can acquire workers who have the skills that your workplace needs.