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CTDO Magazine

The Search for In-Demand Skills

Friday, October 14, 2022

To overcome employee skills shortages, companies can look internally and upskill workers on new technologies.

The work world continues to transform, and organizations are struggling to find and hold onto workers with the right skills to meet evolving needs. "When asked what will impact their businesses in the coming year, a lack of availability of employees and leaders with key skills was the highest ranked issue for global business leaders," according to business consultancy Russell Reynolds' "Talent Crunch: 2022 Global Leadership Monitor."

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Part of the problem is that in-demand skills are continuously evolving and shifting, and it's difficult for employers and staff alike to keep up. The Shifting Skills, Moving Targets, and Remaking the Workforce report—a study from Boston Consulting Group, the Burning Glass Institute, and Emsi Burning Glass—reveals that "Over one-third of the top 20 skills requested in postings for the average US job have changed since 2016, and one in five skills is an entirely new requirement for that job."

For example, the report notes that digital skills are expected in nondigital occupations, and soft skills are seen as important for programmer roles or other digital occupations. For some sectors—IT; HR; finance; business management and operations; and design, media, and writing—researchers say those skills changes are happening more quickly.

The solution to the skills shortage goes beyond employers hiring skilled talent. They need to create a culture of development opportunities to engage and retain vital employees, "Talent Crunch" reports. It reveals that half of global leaders see "employees as one of the stakeholder groups that will most impact organizational strategy over the next five years."  

What steps then should employers take? According to the Experis report The New Age of Tech Talent, "Our research suggests leaders should throw out their old assumptions about how to recruit and develop people. Instead, they should be guided by workforce data, a clear talent philosophy and a willingness to experiment."

In that report, the IT professional resourcing company recommends employers look internally for tech talent as demand for skills intensifies and highlight upskilling opportunities to both workers and their managers.

"The good news is that new technologies provide opportunities for new styles of learning: self-guided, experience-based training that gives their workforces a greater sense of ownership and control," the Experis report states. 

It also recommends employers recruit based on potential success, rather than past successes, and seek out talent in untapped pools, such as individuals who have taken time away from work.

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For the manufacturing industry, which is dealing with a continuous digital transformation, a Supply & Demand Chain Executive article emphasizes the importance of effective training opportunities.

According to the article, "We cannot underestimate the value of hands-on training as it relates to employees learning new skills and furthermore retaining that knowledge when they get back to the factory floor. … [H]ands-on training provides an opportunity for employees to feel comfortable and confident with the technology they're working with."

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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