Companies are taking steps to fill the gaps with training and assessments.
The number of organizations reporting a skills gap hasn't changed since the last time the Association for Talent Development collected data in 2018. But on the bright side, ATD's recent Bridging the Skills Gap: Workforce Development in Changing Times report reveals that more companies are examining what skills are needed to be successful now and in the future,
The top five skills businesses currently lack critical thinking and problem-solving skills, managerial and supervisory skills, communication and interpersonal skills, leadership and executive-level skills, and creativity and innovation skills. Companies noted that those same skills are necessary for the future, except in a different order: critical thinking and problem solving, leadership and executive level, creativity and innovation, managerial and supervisory, and communication and interpersonal.
"There are many factors contributing to the skills gap in the United States, including a lack of education or training in the skills needed, the global COVID-19 pandemic, increasing numbers of employees leaving jobs in some industries, changing technology, and retirements and a loss of knowledge," the report states. "To effectively overcome the skills gap, organizations need to recognize and address these contributing factors."
When asked who is responsible for addressing those gaps, 71 percent of surveyed talent development professionals said the TD or training department bears the responsibility. Next in line are HR and line managers within each business unit.
Organizations' approaches to addressing the skills gaps include providing more internal training, examining what skills the organization needs to be successful now and in the future, and assessing current gaps and creating a plan to address the most critical areas.
The report offers a seven-step action plan to combat the gaps:
- Clarify and understand the organization's performance metrics.
- Identify capabilities and skills that map to strategies and performance metrics.
- Assess the skills gap.
- Set goals and prioritize the path to filling gaps.
- Implement solutions and monitor sustainability.
- Solidify organizational efforts through partnerships.
- Communicate the impact.
"As the research shows, TD professionals can take a leadership role to address the skills gaps," the report states. "It is important that they take the steps outlined in the report to drive change and successfully navigate the gaps in their organizations."
Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.