Closing the Talent Gap Through Practical Education

 

Closing the talent gapThis week on the Accolo Blog, we’ve been discussing the state of hiring in the US and how these trends have been affecting employers and job seekers alike. One of the largest concerns that employers have expressed is concerning the skill gap that exists in today’s talent marketplace. Though recent graduates are practically chomping at the bit to get out in the working world, employers see the majority of this age group as unprepared or unqualified for the jobs that they need filled the most. And this phenomenon isn’t limited to recent grads. Across the country 40% of businesses report having trouble finding qualified applicants for key positions. Further, 55% of these businesses reported that these talent issues were impacting their ability to meet client needs. Clearly, the lines are getting crossed somewhere. With over 9.8 million Americans out of work at the moment, it’s hard for me to believe that this “talent gap” isn’t due, in part, to employers being unwilling to invest in training or being unnecessarily choosy with candidate requirements. In order to close this talent gap, once and for all, businesses need to start working proactively to make sure that they’re getting the talent that they need.

Perhaps the most effective way to close the skill gap is for businesses to work with educators. If college students were made aware of the realities of the job market (which industries are jam packed and which will need thousands of newly minted professionals), then those students who are career driven will veer toward more practical, in-demand fields of study. Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, expressed the need for such a program in a Forbes article:

“First, there’s an information gap. 115,000-120,000 students show up at our colleges every year. Besides the basic things they’ve heard, they don’t understand that there are 84,000 open jobs in health care, 100,000 or more coming in transportation. How can we give them the skills they need if they don’t know what’s out there? The other thing is that employers must become part of the educational curriculum to ensure that our degrees are reflective of what’s important in the workforce today.”

In order to ensure that the next generation is prepared for the workforce, employers need to work with educators to get students informed on the conditions of the job market and on which skills will most effectively pay the bills.

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