Over the last few years, businesses across the world, including in Canada, have been finding it harder to fill jobs due to the widening skills gap. Factors such as an aging workforce and rapid technological advancements requiring digital expertise have contributed to this challenge. Additionally, the lack of a supportive environment for skilled newcomers, marked by lengthy accreditation processes, exacerbates the issue. While some industries may be more affected by the skills gap than others, labor shortages are being felt by lots of businesses across various sectors.

  • Recent reports from ManpowerGroup show that a staggering 69% of employers globally are struggling to find workers with the necessary skills, marking a 15-year high in the industry. 
  • The World Economic Forum predicts that half of all workers worldwide will require reskilling by 2025.
  • Canadian employers currently invest an average of $240 per employee annually on training, with a focus on health and safety, onboarding, and orientation. This amount is significantly lower than the $750 spent per employee in OECD countries.
  • A report by the Future Skills Centre and the Conference Board of Canada predicts that in the next decade, digital skills will be required for nine out of every 10 jobs in Canada.
  • The demand for new skills is rapidly outpacing formal education, with projections suggesting that by 2030, a whopping 85% of jobs yet to be created will need to be filled.

Organizations are…

  1. 63% more likely to achieve results than those that do not adopt a skills-based focus.
  2. 57% more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively. 
  3. 98% more likely to retain high performance.

*According to Deloitte Skills-Based Organization Survey.

Fill the Skills Gap

It goes without saying that people are vital to the success of any organization, making talent development essential. So, let’s explore a few steps HR can take to bridge the skills gap in the workplace.

1. Identify Skills Gaps & Upskill

Upskilling, providing employees with training to expand their skill set, is key to navigating the ever-evolving job market. It enables employers to replace outdated skills with new ones, offering a cost-effective alternative to hiring new talent.

But before you start upskilling your employees, map out the essential skills your business requires currently and for the future. Then, assess the existing skills within your team and tailor training activities accordingly. For instance, if developing new leaders is a priority, consider implementing mentoring programs.

2. Tap Into Untapped Talent

Hiring through an inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) lens is not just the right thing to do. Diverse hiring can lead to more inclusive hiring choices and address the skills gap. 

Diverse hiring could also mean that you tap into your hidden talent. Though often overlooked, hidden workers, including those with health challenges, employment gaps, limited formal qualifications, and disadvantaged backgrounds, offer a valuable solution to companies facing skills shortages. By leveraging this pool of talent, you can address skills gaps and reduce the risk of talent shortages by 36%.

3. Invest in HR

Building a skills-driven workplace demands HR professionals to enhance their HR skills set. One research report indicates that only 21% of respondents possess the necessary expertise in core HR competencies to address ongoing challenges like talent shortages. And according to the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR), proficiency in data literacy, technological acumen, advocacy for employees, and business savvy are vital for cultivating a truly employee-centric workplace.

Fortunately, at the HRPA, we are dedicated to empowering HR professionals with the skills needed to effectively tackle HR challenges head-on. Explore our array of policy templates, professional development courses, and resources designed to help you navigate the skills gap and more.

And don’t miss the upcoming event: More than Human. At the 2024 HRPA Summit, you’ll dive deep into hot topics such as the battle for top talent and building dynamic workplaces in an evolving world. Register today.