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Bridging the skills gap to improve hiring

June 7, 2019

By Keisha Ward, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Last year SHRM CEO, Johnny C. Taylor Jr. launched a national conversation surrounding the need to close the skills gap – a critical issue that affects all employers and employees.

“The economy is hot, unemployment is low, and the skills gap is wide,” Taylor said.  SHRM indicates that eight out of 10 HR professionals report that high-demand and soft skills are in short supply.

Their research also indicates:

The health and social assistance and manufacturing industries report the highest levels of recruiting difficulty. 46% of respondents indicated that the most-difficult-to-recruit-for positions are in the highly skilled, medical job categories.

Smaller organizations (those with 1 to 99 employees) reported having the most difficulty in filling full-time manager and skilled trade positions.

A high-quality workforce is the most important determinant of business success.  Challenges related to hiring the best people have a direct influence on an organization’s competitiveness today and in the future.

HR Leaders suggest that today’s skills gap is a result of an aging demographic. This shift creates a “gap” in available skills and the skills necessary for today’s jobs. Kevin Walling, CHRO at The Hershey Company stated, “Without taking proactive action in how we’re developing the next generation of the workforce, we will be at risk.”

Hiring skilled workers for supply chain careers has been listed as a top challenge for the last four years in the MHI Industry Report and this month, Fed Ex Logistics launched a program in an initiative to bridge the gap. Fed Ex Logistics recently announced their plans to launch an employment and talent development program aimed at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs), starting with Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) in August 2019. They will open a satellite office on the MVSU campus in Itta Bena, Mississippi, where students will be hired to work part-time in customs and trade-focused roles, with opportunities for full-time employment with the company after graduation. “Connecting people and possibilities and developing diverse talent in the communities where we live and work are priorities for FedEx Logistics,” Thanh Anderson, vice president of Global Support Services at FedEx Logistics, stated.

FedEx Logistics is among many organizations who are taking a proactive approach to concerns about a growing skills gap within their industry. The organizations are opening more avenues to get talent into their recruitment pipelines. Microsoft also launched a similar program.

According to SHRM, the United States is facing a growing skills gap that threatens the nation’s long-term economic prosperity. The workforce simply does not have enough workers and skilled candidates to fill an ever-increasing number of skilled jobs. 7 million jobs were open in December 2018, but only 6.3 million unemployed people were looking for work. Business and HR leaders view the skills shortage as a top concern that needs to be addressed. Among HR professionals, 75% of those having recruiting difficulty say there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings.

What can we do to bridge the gap?

Proactively develop the next generation of workers

Provide training and opportunities to continue education with existing employees

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