Tackling a problem like the skills crisis

Skills gaps, or skills shortages (as I like to call them), have long been identified across the UK workforce. Before Covid, reports from a variety of sectors suggested that the skills required to do a modern job were starting to become scarce.

A report from the Institute of Learning and Work (L&W) found that the skills shortage in the UK will end up costing the country up to £120 billion by 2030. The future success of the UK economy depends on how we tackle the shortage of skills. Without the modern skills to face the future, businesses will struggle to compete and the UK economy as a whole will suffer.

Key skills needed in the workplace today include digital literacy, data literacy and critical thinking

The report’s findings are further proof that now is not the time to let up on the accelerator of change, but to go further and faster to find the right people with the right skills, in the right role. And could prove a fundamental element in the recovery of the British economy for generations to come.

Modern skills are sorely lacking

The fact is that we have the talent in the UK, but our challenge is to ensure that this talent is nurtured and has access to the tools to acquire the skills required in today’s workplace.

Many factors contribute to skills gaps, but perhaps the most pervasive is the chronic underinvestment in developing workplace-applicable skills – the same L&W report identified an urgent need to focus on improving skills. transferable skills early in career development.

Key skills needed in the workplace today include digital literacy, data literacy and critical thinking, and these can be as – or even more – important than traditional skills and experience. More often than not, these new skills are not sufficiently developed through traditional education. This is where workplaces have a key role to play in preparing employees for today’s workplace.

Tackling the skills crisis

Many UK workers are unaware of the scale of the retraining they need, which in turn makes it harder for employers to understand the scale of the skills gap within their workforce work.

Implementing staff assessments can provide employers with a comprehensive set of test score data to help identify the strength of their employees’ skills and where the gaps lie. This helps inform better decisions on training, recruitment and career development. Armed with this crucial data, they can deliver relevant and engaging on-the-job training and ensure they have the skills they need to thrive.

Schools and universities, as well as organizations that offer learning and certification outside the formal education system like the British Computer Society (BCS) have a key role to play in providing a wealth of training courses relevant to the industry to students who develop fundamental skills for the future. generations to implement in their professional careers.

Many employers develop internal certification programs that encourage employees to learn useful skills

Equipping the workforce with future-proofing skills

The right training is essential to equip the workforce with the skills it needs for the future, but generic and irrelevant training will not measure up to employers and can demotivate the team members who attend it. participate.

By conducting online skills assessments before training begins, leaders can gather insights into the skills employees need most for the job, helping to clear up confusion and make better decisions. training, promotions, team structures and recruitment.

However, employers need to be able to trust the results they get from assessments, which requires a fair and accessible platform that deters cheating or testing for fraud. It can be as simple as using a random question feature so no two people ever take the same assessment. Or when the stakes are high, a remote monitoring service flags any anomalies for later review.

Retaining talent is essential

In addition to the skills crisis, organizations are struggling to retain talent. There is strong evidence, and I can vouch for it, that employees prefer to work for employers who develop their skills.

Many employers develop internal certification programs that encourage employees to learn useful skills. Providing certifications and assessments gives your organization a competitive advantage in recruitment (through the professional development offering) and empowers employees to do more for your organization.

In the meantime, employers must urgently identify skills development and training priorities

To advance

The world of work has changed forever and it is clear that there is work to be done. Employees need to embrace the skills they have and become more aware of the ones they don’t. In the meantime, employers must urgently identify skills development and training priorities.

With workers not understanding the nature of the “skills rework” required, asking team members what support they need will clearly not be enough. Employers need to rigorously measure the skills of their workforce with staff assessments to get a clear reading of their training and development priorities.

Interested in this topic? Read Why lifelong learning is key to closing the skills gap.