There has been much discussion in the media and HR circles about the lack of qualified candidates to fill the myriad of open positions that companies have available.
The Perfect Candidate Myth
While it's true that the skills of today are different than those required even five years ago, there is a larger problem that hiring managers are unwilling to face: there is no such thing as the "perfect candidate."
The Skills-Gap Myth
The world of work is indeed changing, but that does not mean that the skills of yesterday have no place in today's workforce. The "skills gap" theory has one major flaw in it, as Peter Cappelli from the Wharton School of Business explains: it's a self‑diagnosis.
Mr. Cappelli has done some great work in explaining a couple of factors about why organizations are not able to fill their open jobs. Here's a look at three major components:
As pointed out in a recent article from the New York Times, compensation packages for the average employee has remained stagnant over the past 40 years. This information is backed up by a recent Manpower survey in which 11 percent of hiring managers claim that one of the reasons they can't get workers to accept positions is low compensation, basically claiming that the jobs don't pay enough. The hiring shortage may not be caused by a lack of talent; it may be because you're not paying a competitive enough wage.
We're still working our way out of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. When markets go bad, benefit packages are some of the first things to be affected. While many might point to the long lost days of a matching 401(k), they would be wise to also take a look at their training budgets.
It was once common for employers to hire for general abilities, understanding that they could train their employees to perform the tasks specific to their company and the functional role. Unfortunately, that mindset is becoming increasingly rare. As a result of less training, companies are not only unable to fill their own functional roles with the given skill sets, employees are not getting prepared for their next career step.
3. Just-in-Time Talent Management
It is common for many businesses today to operate under what is called the just-in-time business principle. Production facilities keep costs down by making only enough products to fill their existing orders, ramping up when the orders increase. Likewise, to save money on storage costs, many retailers and the like will minimize the size of their back room storage, opting instead to keep just enough inventory to generate interest, and placing orders when the demand arises. While this is great for physical process and inventory, people are not widgets and you simply can't go out and find a human replacement part that will fit within your existing machine.
Attracting Good Employees with a Strong Employment Brand
Now, more than ever, it is important for organizations small and large to be cultivating their candidate pool, and investing in their employment brand. Having a pool of well-qualified candidates who want to work for you because of your unique employment proposition will make hiring much easier than simply throwing out an ad when that essential role suddenly becomes vacant.
While true that today's new world of work requires different skills, it is equally true that hiring managers and HR departments need to make a paradigm shift on their views of hiring and recruiting. It's not that there aren't great candidates out there and eager to help you succeed, it's that you're still operating under the old way of thinking about talent acquisition and people management.
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