Is there really a skills shortage or are we just looking in the wrong places?

pic1Having worked and consulted with a number of global firms who all have dire needs for niche, pivotal, specialists, or hard to fill skill set requirements, this question is not asked enough.

I read recently that Sir James Dyson claims that the UK produces 12, 000 engineering graduates a year, and that there are currently 54, 000 vacancies in the sector. 54, 000! Well surely, don’t we already have an existing workforce of engineers and a robust immigration policy for said skilled workers?pic2

In another recent exchange, I was provided data and told that Brazilian IT firms were looking at the UK as a great relocation option due to the exponential cost of skilled IT labor in Brazil recently skyrocketing. Yet the UK also has a shortage of skilled IT workers, right?

The skills shortage list continues across all industries, but just because we hear the cries of pain, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is accurate because how do we know all possible solutions have been utilized? In regularly speaking with HR VPs, Talent Acquisition Directors/managers, corporate recruiters, bloggers and subject matter experts on talent trends, I’ve come to the conclusion that the skills and labour shortages are indeed overstated, and most importantly, easily fixable.

pic3What brings me to this conclusion is even though most organizations are having a difficult time keeping up with all of the data dumping which boggs down their internal processes, bandwidth, and eventually eating up budget, we’ve found through qualitative and quantitative research, there are a handful of companies being proactive and succeeding in overcoming this challenge. What we’ve learned is in order for organizations to be competitive in attracting talent in the 21st Century, they will need a model that adapts to a more agile method of data capture, thereby focusing on harnessing the most meaningful, structuring it for ease of use, then quickly utilizing for immediate use and just as importantly, having a plan to use it for attracting future talent. So, if a company thinks it is difficult to find talent, then it is what they think it is and no improvement occurs. But if a company decides to be proactive in solving the issue by improving their sourcing and data utilization approach, then the new process becomes a catalyst for capturing the right data to attract talent for today and in the future.

There are signs of green shoots, as early adopters are beginning to address the issue in order to proactively improve their sourcing (data capture) process for better results and greater market intelligence.

As we’ve stated in past blogs, “Sourcing is the proactive searching for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions; it is not the reactive function of reviewing cv’s and applications sent to the company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates. The goal of sourcing is to collect relevant data about qualified candidates, such as names, titles and job responsibilities.” (From SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management)

The gap in ideal state and reality arises when the strategic importance of attracting the right skills/talent is misaligned with the tactical urgency during demand planning and budgeting. The outcome drives a highly reactive process, thereby missing the desired outcomes.

pic4Because the robust solution to this issue would be best suited in an e-book instead of a blog, I’d like to invite you to Discover Sourcing conference in London, UK on September 17, 2013. At the event, Brent Shopp, our VP of Service Delivery will be presenting on the most effective strategies to effectively leverage sourcing data in the 21st Century. Check out Discover Sourcing.

Or you can connect with Mark <> or Brent <>

Images: Wally Gobetz;; Marinela


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