The Basis of the IT Skills Gap
It has been five years since the official end of the Great Recession, and the U.S. economy is in the midst of a robust uphill climb toward a new level of prosperity. However, another cause for concern has emerged. Employers are faced with the increased challenge of filling positions because there is an IT skills gap. Sadly, 35% of U.S. companies are challenged with recruiting and hiring skilled workers. There is much speculation about the source of the skills gap. Nonetheless, some of the problems are being caused by the approaching retirement of baby boomers. At least 82% of executives admit the gap will impact customer demand. There is an apparent disconnect between the skills employers require and those possessed by employees.
A major contributor to the skills gap is the shortage of people skilled in science, technology, education, and math (STEM). However, there is further evidence to support a lack of advanced skills in leadership and soft skills like communication. While it has not reached a critical point as of yet, the skills gap does have the potential to threaten the sustainability of businesses not only in the United States but also globally.
Impact on business
The impact the skills gap has on businesses include lost revenues and limited access to opportunities for expansion. Additionally, leading to lower employee morale. Did you know, a job that stays vacant for over three months on average costs the company over $14,000? In fact, one out of every six companies loses $25,000 or more. Other fallout from the skills gap includes delays in delivery times, overworked employees leading to a decline in employee motivation, and increasing costly mistakes. All of which have an adverse impact on quality customer service.
Companies faced with the challenge to fill highly skilled positions will experience the ripple effect that hinders the ability to create lower-skilled jobs and improve business performance. Global economies are feeling the effects of the skills shortage in the areas of production, health, technology and others. Because the strength of an economy is reliant on manufacturing, a campaign to change public perception is strongly suggested. One reason there is an 84% talent shortage in production is the fact that only 3 out of 10 parents encourage their children to consider manufacturing as a viable career choice. Before a reliable answer for the IT skills gap is formulated, public officials, leaders in academia and industry executives must stop the blame game.
Who is responsible for the IT skills gap?
While everyone agrees on the skills gap issue, no one agrees with the source. We believe that although many factors have created the skills gap, no one entity is solely responsible. Employers blame the lack of job-specific training and yet many companies no longer offer on-the-job training and low-cost apprenticeships programs. IT executives have the audacity to blame a shortage of skills, in contrast to IT professionals who say, the real issue is exaggerated requirements.
A part of the disconnect is that at least 73% of IT professionals say it's hard to find positions they feel qualified to fill. An additional 63% believe the biggest challenge stems from the unrealistic technical expectations of would-be employers. This causes some to blame job descriptions for the two opposing viewpoints. In addition to low wages or a race to the bottom, as it were, is also allegedly contributing to the skills gap. Regardless of which side of the aisle, you find yourself, the fact is the longer a position remains empty, the more it adversely impacts the company. We feel a return to the traditional on-the-job training may be at the forefront of the solution.
As the CEO, regardless of who caused the gap, you are responsible for company performance. Therefore, we suggest providing the necessary training for your current staff. Also, to create a job description detailing the basic requirements, while placing an emphasis on professional growth through ongoing training. Furthermore, we also believe today's e-Learning technology makes it cost-effective through customization and provides a substantial ROI.
The impact of the IT skills gap in your business may not be as drastic as losing over $25,000 mentioned here. Of course, it may also be worse. The luxury of pointing fingers is no longer a viable option. Take control of your company’s future by taking care of your IT staffing needs.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results