Growing skills gaps just one problem for recruiters today

As the economy continues its recovery at a slow pace and competition for the top talent becomes ever more intense, organisations face a range of challenges in employee recruitment and selection. According to PwC, one of the biggest of these is an increasing gap between the skills companies need for their vacant roles, and those offered by today's candidates.

The consulting firm's 'The talent challenge: Adapting to growth' survey, which polled over 1,000 CEOs from almost 70 nations, predicts many organisations are planning for a “hiring spree” over the next 12 months. However, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents reported concern that they won't be able to find the individuals with the skills required to fill their open positions.

This figure is an increase of 5 per cent from last year's survey. Despite a large proportion of companies claiming they are ready to hire again in light of improving growth prospects, this skills gap remains a persistent stumbling block for many.

According to PwC's Global HR Consulting Leader Michael Rendell, part of the problem could stem from the increasingly complex skill sets today's organisations seek.

“The gap between the skills of the current workforce and the skills businesses need to achieve their growth plans is widening. Despite rising business confidence equating to more jobs, organisations are struggling to find the right people to fill these positions,” he explained.

“Business leaders are looking for people with a far wider range of skills than ever before. Gone are the days of life-time careers; chameleon-like employees who apply their skills whenever and wherever they're needed are now in high demand.”

So what do businesses have to do?

In light of the constantly evolving HR requirements of today's organisations, how many are actually taking steps to adapt and refocus their recruitment strategies?

According to the survey's results, more than nine out of 10 business leaders recognise the need to “change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent” – however, three in five admitted they have not yet taken any tangible action on this.

Mr Rendell thus, stated that organisations really need to take the matter into their own hands, using tools such as analytics to build their workforce in a productive manner.

“CEOs are laying much of the blame for the skills shortage at the feet of government and legislators, but they should accept that they need to re-think the way they think about, look for and value their employees,” he suggested.

“CEOs should be taking advantage of the developments in HR data analytics to predict the skills they will need and plan for changes in demand and supply.”

Skills shortage just one piece in the graduate puzzle

A widening skills gap is a pertinent problem in the recruitment and selection of any employee, but the issues are manifold when it comes to hiring graduates.

Perhaps because they are such an untested, untried cohort in the employment market, organisations are reporting that there are several additional challenges when recruiting those just out of university. peterberry_author's 'Global Survey of Graduate Recruiting Practices' asked recruiters from around the world a series of open-ended questions about the difficulties in graduate recruitment, and some common obstacles were identified.

Firstly, dealing with a high volume of similar candidates is proving to be a time-consuming affair, with recruiters only interested in inviting the best potential applicants to an assessment centre. This homogeneity among candidates made it difficult to identify those with the true, intrinsic ability talent that would add real value to the organisation.

Increasing competition for the top graduate talent was another challenge, as was a lack of awareness among candidates – many simply don't know what they want to do due to their youth and inexperience.

With graduate recruitment still high on the agenda but managers also beset by a range of challenges, organisations will want to sharpen their hiring strategies to ensure they're landing the best talent.