3 Common Skill Gaps Examples to Look Out For

What do you think of when you’re asked to consider skill gaps examples? Mind gone blank? Well, newsflash: 87% of companies either already have a skills gap in their organization, or know that they will within the next few years.

Performing skills gap analysis is an essential part of workforce management, thinking ahead to the roles you’re going to need over the next few months and years, and comparing these requirements to your current workers. 

We’ve outlined the most common skill gaps examples found in companies to help you identify your own. We’ve outlined the most common skill gaps examples found in companies to help you identify your own.

This article is part of our guide on the skill gap.

#1 Emerging skills

When people in tech companies talk about the current skills gaps, this is the category that is usually the topic of conversation. Emerging technology fields are changing so quickly and continuously that there can’t help but be gaps related to new roles and expertise that just didn’t exist when today’s workforce was leaving school.

Think about positions like cybersecurity analysts, Kubernetes engineers for managing and maintaining cloud environments, and product-led growth experts. These are skills you just can’t learn at university – y’know, the ones where if you told your Dad about them, he’d nod vaguely and quickly ask if you saw the game at the weekend. 

Filling these roles relies on workers receiving “on-the-job” training, and having the right background and knowledge base from experience, school or hobbies. Companies’ demand is currently at its peak for these jobs, and there just aren’t enough of the right people out there to fill that gap.

How can companies overcome the talent shortage?

  • Hiring interns right out of university or even high school: There are many benefits of internships. The company gets the proverbial Tabula Rasa at below market rates, and employees can trial a career and be trained up in essential skills without the need to commit for the long term, and all without needing prior experience.
  • Bootcamps and certifications: Big names like Monday.com and Salesforce have launched bootcamps to get more people skilled and qualified for entry-level positions. These companies offer digital badging, certifications and accreditations that are valuable CV capital and help candidates to differentiate themselves. 
  • Alignment with universities and schools: Enterprises including IBM and Microsoft are moving a step back in the process and getting involved with educational institutions to encourage students to learn relevant skills before they join the workforce.

#2 High-demand skills

Slightly easier to find, but still contributing to these kinds of skill gaps examples are the roles which have already been in high demand for a number of years. 

Think about digital marketing, software development, and SaaS sales rolest. Oh yes, your Dad has probably heard of these. These are not new requirements to the modern business, so the cause isn’t a lack of expertise, it’s that the average tenure of these jobs is declining rapidly. Employees are staying in these roles for an average of 1.8 years, far less than even a few years ago.

The real question here is how can we keep employees with high-demand skills engaged day after day, and year after year? 

How can companies overcome the talent shortage?

  • Career development: Companies in need of these high-demand skills need to help their talents develop a career path from day one. It’s up to the company to make their employees feel they can grow and develop in the company. However, you need to adapt your development pace to your audience. Gen Z expect to move to a new position every 12 months and to acquire new skills on a quarterly basis.
  • Mentorships: Encourage high-demand talent in your company to mentor and train juniors, to both ensure that employees are continually adding strings to their bow and add more high-demand skilled talents to your company.
  • Bootcamps: Unlike emerging skills, you do not need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to high-demand skills. There’s a variety of bootcamps, mainly coding bootcamps, that can help you either train new talent or hire new graduates.

#3 Low-skilled labor

Let’s take a step out of tech for a moment. Equally impacted by the skills shortage are low-skilled or low-wage labor positions. 

Examples of these include warehouse and delivery employees for large retailers such as Amazon, workers in the shipping industry, and even waitstaff and busboys in restaurants and bars – especially in quick service and fast food industries. According to the National Restaurant Association, 78% of US restaurant owners report they don’t have enough employees in place to meet their current customer demand.

How can companies overcome the talent shortage?

The solution for low-skilled labor is often automation, adding smart digital processes behind the scenes that can take the place of low-wage labor positions. Automation can streamline tasks in manufacturing plants or for shipping and logistics companies, and even work back of house in restaurants to clean plates and serve food ready for consumers. As people opt into higher-value, better-paid, and more strategic roles, technology is a great way to fill the resulting gaps.

#4 Skills in declining demand

On one side of the equation, we have already discussed skills that are growing too quickly for people to fill their gaps. However, on the other side, there are many skills that have declining demand in the market. 

For many years these kinds of jobs have been becoming less valued, less well-paid, and less sought after as career options. As more employees retire, this has created an ironic skills gap in the workforce. Hey! We need some people to know this stuff!

For example, not enough people are working to become infrastructure programmers. Labor skills analytics firm, Emsi, found examples of what they call perishable skills. “R, Agile, Unix — platform- or organization-specific tools or languages that remain important for some but are increasingly volatile. Fluency in these programs takes a back seat to more durable and stable skills.” 

Other examples of roles that are suffering from perishable skills are civil engineers, and government procurement officers, both job descriptions that are becoming alarmingly sparse.

How can companies overcome the talent shortage?

Looking for a fix to this challenge? It can be helpful to group skills into clusters, so that if an employee takes a course on programming, they learn the basics or the foundational (yet more volatile) skills alongside the sexier or more in-demand programming languages. This ensures that you have staff on-tap who have a well-rounded understanding of their industry and their role, even in the elements of that job which are being phased out over time.

Written by
Stoke Talent

Team

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