The Shifting Skills Gap – A sudden 24% year-over-year decrease in the number of executives who believe it is real


Last year, a whopping 80% of the C-Suite believed the skills gap—a lack of essential work skills and abilities in the workforce—was real. The gap was widest when it came to so-called soft skills like critical thinking and problem solving (41%), closely followed by hard technical skills associated with the job (39%). But this year, only 56% of executives believe the skills gap is real.

Such a sudden 24% year-over-year decrease shows how quickly the modern workforce is evolving, and how that requires employers to shift the way they view their people.

Last year, Millennials were the focus of workforce conversations but now employers are tired of that conversation. Instead, they want to focus on what makes an employee valuable.

Employers have placed an added emphasis on ensuring that they’re hiring people who come equipped with the necessary hard and soft skills, regardless of age. And 47% of employers do not prioritize hard or soft skills over the other when vetting a candidate.

Interestingly, traditional education has lost its foothold as a critical factor in a prospective employee’s on-the-job success and happiness. 74% of students believe their college/university is failing them when it comes to job preparation, and we are only now seeing classes on digital advertising, social media and SEO. This is why there has been a rise in–and employer acceptance of–non-traditional education, from apprenticeships to online degrees.

With 46-53% of employers reporting various educational degrees to be of low importance, they are now looking at talent as a full person, not just a resume.

Hiring for happiness. Retaining with happiness.

Even if an employee has all the right skills, joining a team on which they don’t fit in can negatively impact their happiness. In a recent survey conducted by the Levo Institute surrounding Millennial workplace happiness, 76% of respondents believed workplace culture would be essential to their happiness at a potential company.

And with changes to technology, automation, and the rise of the gig economy, candidates have more opportunities than ever to find work elsewhere. Employee retention is more critical than ever and employers are considering more than just a balanced employee. They are considering their potential employees’ happiness as a key factor of future success and are addressing this as early as the interviewing phase.

The long-term benefits of a (potentially) longer hiring process.

Of course, a hiring process that takes hard skills, soft skills and various degrees of an employee’s fit into consideration sounds like a lengthy one. Especially when your business demands need to be met now and good talent is hard to find, but that extra time pays off in the long run.

According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), replacing a bad hire could cost up to an estimated $240,000—that’s almost a quarter of a million dollars should that person turn out to be a bad hire. That alone should make companies step back, calculate their own turnover costs and audit their recruiting, hiring and onboarding processes.

And that’s exactly what Best-in-Class companies are prioritizing. 54% of Best-in-Class companies do not expedite their interview processes for top talent. That means they are 17% more likely than other companies to ensure a thorough hiring process, regardless of competition, to secure top talent.

How do today’s top companies ensure talent will be happy? 

  • They hire candidates who have the right hard and soft skills.
  • They weigh a potential candidate’s happiness as early as the interviewing phase.
  • They believe a candidate’s prior experience, hard and soft skills, and cultural fit to be important to their potential happiness within an organization.
  • They believe a candidate’s education to be of lower importance to their potential happiness within an organization than their skills and cultural fit.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Chapter 4: The Shifting Skills Gap


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