Who has heard of the UK skills gap?

A new study has shown that HR professionals who are following a traditional path of looking for high-quality talent at the top levels of organisations are quite possibly letting their organisations down. The push for high-quality talent at the top has meant that the UK skills gap is growing and is becoming a serious issue for UK organisations. The basic message is clear: widen your scope when looking for new talent in your organisation, or suffer business issues that could affect overall levels of revenue. Not an easy pill to swallow, but HR professionals would do well to take heed.

The report was undertaken by KPMG, a widely respected organisation that often aims a spotlight on various sectors in industry. The report is available here for you to read. It states that the improving economic climate is causing employees at all levels of an organisation to seek work elsewhere. This is creating a skills shortage in many areas. However, when HR professionals are aiming their sights at the very top talent, for management for example, their eyes are not on the real problem. More and more skills are becoming harder to find, and this could mean that organisations face lowering revenues, as different types of workers jump ship.

The famous ‘war for talent’ policies that came into effect a number of years ago are now proving to be almost fruitless. The emphasis is now going to be on skills, skills that are needed at all levels of the organisation. In the report, more than 100 adopters of the war for talent approach were interviewed and analysed by KPMG. Staggeringly, only 25% seemed to be performing well. This points out the obvious lesson to be learned here. The ignorance of less sexy skills and talent has only led to a waste of money.

Interestingly, the report found the younger workers, those who may have less skills simply due to generational and age differences, don’t seem impressed by traditional promotion and senior job roles. But if HR professionals aren’t looking for talent in this particular cohort of people, they will go somewhere else. The focus is changed, for organisation to users human resources well it should be aiming to audit the skills within its walls and identify those that need new blood.

One thing is for sure, gone are the days when people were excited about headhunting campaigns and top-level appointments. While all that was going on, the hard working, ‘average’ employees were seemingly ignored.

The recent acceptance in the HR press is that young people are now the ‘go to generation’ if the recruitment trends continue into 2016 and onwards.  The UK skills gap is ‘real’ and requires a different approach.  What is it that Millennials want to motivate them. What skills are we simply not replacing?

Chris Catt

The Enabled Entrepreneur

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