Do You Have The Right Skills?

Businesses in all areas of the economy are looking for people with good skills as they find it difficult to get staff. But what can businesses do?

Finding the right skills

Small businesses form the bedrock of the economy as they are found in every locality and sector in the country. The strength of any organisation comes from the skills and experience of its people. In recent years however businesses are finding it difficult to find and keep the people they need. One effect of not getting the right staff is to place a greater emphasis on using technology to reduce costs and jobs.

Government and business each have a role to play to address the skills shortage, not least because without careful planning it will increase to a critical level. Government must focus policy on attracting and retaining jobs in businesses in different geographic locations. Businesses must invest in staff training and improve working conditions for employees. Flexible and less than full-time working form part of the solution and should, where possible, be made available to accommodate staff with family and lifestyle arrangements.

The good news is that businesses are creating lots of jobs and need people to fill them, so there are opportunities for those entering the workforce or wishing to move to new employers.

Finding the right work

Meaningful work and a career in a field of interest provide people with the ability to live as they choose, provide for family and enjoy a good life.

Education of course plays a vital role in the development of skills, as it provides opportunities for everyone inside and outside the workforce. Productivity too is an important characteristic of a successful economy and a measure driven by high-level skills. In recent years, skill shortages have become severe in many areas and are expected to keep rising, as employers expect new employees to be able to solve problems, engage with customers, work on their own initiative, and as part of a team. Developing links between students and employers is also necessary to emphasise the importance of skills. As a result, employers must engage with schools, colleges and universities to highlight what they offer and what is expected from applicants.

The nature of work is changing too, which affects the types of skills employers seek. Such changes are not new but the pace of change is growing faster which makes it difficult to predict the types of skills that will be required in the future. Historically, technology creates more jobs than it destroys but for the first time there is a concern that it may destroy more jobs than it creates. In this context, it is expected that people with high-level and low-level skills will continue to be in demand. But machine learning and artificial intelligence will replace many people with mid-level skills as automation spreads into every industry. Regardless of what happens, the demand for skills will grow and those with the right skills will find lucrative jobs and rewarding careers.

So, businesses want to recruit the right people with the right skills but will have to change their practices to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.