There’s an issue here, and it needs to be addressed.
Here’s the situation. There are times I’ll speak to a client, and they will say, "you just can't get the talent these days". I'll then go and speak to a promising candidate, and they will ask "how do I get the experience for this role?"
Now, I know that this candidate is a good long-term fit for this client. They are someone who can really grow with them. But, this client won’t look at this candidate because they don’t tick the bucket list of skills and experience that they are after.
It’s frustrating, and I've been there. When I started my career the first question I asked was “how do I get from A to B?”
The jobs I wanted required experience, but I didn't have any. So, what did I do?
I focused on companies that would invest in me. These were places where I could develop and get the experience I needed. It was more important than a salary. These companies in my eyes had a fantastic employer brand.
So, why is this relevant?
I think most people reading this article are beyond the “career starter” stage. Many are probably mid-career or beyond. However, this topic is still highly relevant.
We are living in a world where experience can go out of date in an instance. It’s also an environment where the definition of talent is very fluid and fast moving. Basically, we are now all “career starters” at any given point in time.
This is the nature of the fast-paced digital world we now live in. We need to constantly acquire new experiences to be considered talented in today’s world. In other words, we need to continuously learn.
Reskilling and upskilling has therefore, become an absolute necessity if you want to have a successful long-term career.
It's an issue for all employees. It's a particularly sensitive issue for gen-Z and millennial workers who have a long career ahead of them. They need to ensure they will survive all the changes to their careers that they will experience.
Companies need to rethink their employer brand
In Switzerland, companies have got used to acquiring talent and paying decent salaries to get it. However, this is no longer enough. The world is experiencing an acute shortage of talent.
Therefore, the only reasonable option now is to invest in talent.
Make it! Don't acquire it! It’s just not worth it otherwise.
Searching for the perfect candidate with the perfect skills and experience is extremely costly. In some instances, it is far cheaper to find a less experienced candidate, which a company can invest and train to mould into the perfect candidate.
It’s a much better approach. Investing in talent, specific to a certain role, means that an employee grows with the company. This improves retention. It also raises a company’s employer brand in a world where reskilling and up skilling are now highly valued.
Yet, companies are still not doing enough
In a survey carried out by The Adecco Group during the midst of the pandemic in early 2021, just 37% of employees in non-management positions believed their company was effectively investing in their skills and development. Moreover, 70% of the same group wanted the company they work for to have a clear talent and development strategy to help them progress internally.
What's clear is that candidates are highly motivated to learn and grow, but they feel that the companies they work for are squandering their willingness and energy to succeed.
Ironically, in that same survey, business leaders who participated generally believe they were doing a good job and had a clear strategy to train their workers. 80% believed they were succeeding in digital skills, while 78% thought they provided regular skills assessments and reskilling and up skilling development plans.
There is clearly a gap between perception and reality. The problem is that the risk lies with companies, whose disconnect with what employees feel may lead to them under investing in skills and development.
This could harm their reputation. It could also lead to an unnecessarily high turnover of staff and an inability to attract new talent.
The solution is actually simple. Listen more to your employees and create an environment where they can see themselves moving into new roles internally.
This has always been an issue. But now it has become particularly important. By making just a few changes, companies could present themselves as forward-looking and as a guarantor that anyone who joins them will have a successful career.
The time to act is now.