Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Small but Significant Steps to End the Skills Gap

We hear you. You’re struggling to find qualified candidates for numerous positions at your organization — and you’re not alone.

As the unemployment rate drops to 3.6 percent in the US, the need for qualified, highly-skilled employees continues to rise. Business leaders and human resources professionals watch as the ever-widening skills gap becomes one of their biggest challenges.

In fact, a 2019 SHRM study exploring the skills gap found 83 percent of companies report having trouble finding qualified talent. More than half of talent acquisition pros surveyed say educational institutions are doing little to correct the issue. But pointing fingers doesn’t get anyone to a solution.

It’s time to look beyond your traditional hiring process at alternatives that offer a quick and lasting fix. Close the skills gap in your company by implementing these steps:

Curate professionalism tips on your career site

The skills gap isn’t isolated to finding high-quality hard skills in candidates. Job seekers are also, reportedly, sans valuable soft skills. Open-ended responses in the above SHRM study revealed HR professionals feel candidates are lacking professionalism and skills like business acumen.

Start educating potential applicants about professionalism and other key tips to career success in your organization directly on your career site. This allows talent to access advice to build out their necessary skill sets as they connect with your company brand and seek potential employment.

Administer on-the-job training

Tackle the skills gap head-on by bolstering your employee training programs. Offering more in-house training opportunities allows you to open the door to potentially under-qualified candidates with a base skillset and invaluable interest to grow with you.

Remember, investment in your employees reaps long-term rewards. The ROI of committing to creating highly-skilled employees is high. You will have an empowered, devoted workforce equally invested in their future and career growth with your company. On-the-job training programs can start as small as routine webinars and seminars and grow into something as intensive as certification programs.

Upskill your current team

Rather than hiring new employees, look to your current top performers. Assess who has the potential to gain new skills and power the company forward. Take your on-the-job-training to the next level by providing skills-specific training for interested employees. Upskilling takes your talent retention to the next level by investing in high performers with the curiosity and willingness to grow to support your needs.

Training and upskilling works to fuel motivation. These employees’ investments come with increased morale, job satisfaction, and succession planning. Upskilling also offers opportunities for employees to take the next step in their career with your company.

Seek out alternative candidate sources

Veterans, retirees, the displaced, and former employees may be invaluable assets to fill the skills gap at your company. Hiring individuals from other countries may even be an option. While not appropriate for every organization or position, some employers find these alternative sources to be an impactful solution for various reasons.

There are benefits to dipping into talent pools that have little competition that outweigh filling open roles quickly. There are a number of soft skills and experiences that can bring a fresh perspective to your team. Often, these talented candidates have gone above and beyond to acquire the most recent training or certifications to stand out over other candidates.

The key traits to look for are passion for your company and role, evidence of an eagerness to learn, and dedication to work alongside your team to close the skills gap little by little.


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Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 5,000+ customers in over 100 countries.