It is an interesting situation that in the UK we have low unemployment and yet the scarcity of skills in certain roles is a real challenge for many organisations. I was intrigued by this headline which is from the USA where the experience is very similar to the UK.
With Brexit coming and the consequential reduction in labour from European countries (perceived or real) the expectation is that the skills gap will widen and hit many sectors where there is a disproportionate number of overseas people employed.
In the US the problem crosses many industries including construction; arts, entertainment and recreation; as well as retail. In different regions and different industries, the gap is caused by various problems rather than one specific thing and therefore solutions need to be created by sector and by region.
This is likely to be true here in the UK, at TMP we will often suggest that to fix challenges of this nature you need to start with insight, by better understanding the detail behind the headlines then you can start to focus on long term solutions that might require investment but ultimately resolve the challenge. This may involve a better articulation of an EVP to improve the engagement of your target audiences and attract them to your organisation or a different selection process that allows a wider talent pool to understand that they possess the skills required.
A disconnect between the unemployment rate (currently hovering at 4.1%, so with some flexibility still) and the actual experience in the labor market has some questioning whether the skills gap actually exists or is an imagined barrier created by employers contending with a shifting business environment. But Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association, says otherwise, as does Brett Underhill, global talent acquisition leader at LinkedIn. “This rate suggests that there is still a lot of slack in the U.S. when it comes to the availability of talent. But that has not proven to be the case. Something is very different about this post-recessionary American labor market,” Wahlquist said in an emailed comment to HR Dive.