The news is filled with dire predictions on the upcoming war for talent. So what does that really mean for the future for buyers of contingent labor? We all know that IT jobs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your talent pipeline.
Technology is changing rapidly and the pool of technology talent is truly struggling to keep up with demand for the skills, especially in peak demand areas like Silicon Valley. Universities are not producing enough computer science majors to meet demand and not all technology professionals choose to begin their career after college — and some never even bother to finish college. IT professionals are also learning skills online, through collaborative efforts, on the job and in afterhours networking events. Most learn their skills in incubator-like settings using technology and the business world as a cocoon that may naturally limit in person communication but promotes productivity.
Technology skills will continue to be a hot item with upward pressure on demand as long as advances continue. Actually, the biggest complaint from employers, after lack of available talent in general, is that communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills are sorely lacking in today’s workforce. A recent survey of 500 senior executives done by Adecco Staffing US cited that 44 percent believe soft skills are the largest gap in workforce skills today. In the same survey almost 90 percent believe corporate apprenticeships or training programs could help. So the question is: As the workforce matures and technology races forward, what have you done to prepare your talent pipeline long term?
Beyond tech. And it’s not just about the technical skills, manufacturing skills are also in short supply. According to a survey done by The Manufacturing Institute, 83 percent of U.S. manufacturers reported a moderate or severe shortage of skilled workers, hourly production people, engineering service technicians and even welders are in short supply, and the recent gains in manufacturing in the U.S. could be at risk. The combination of an aging workforce (the average age of a highly skilled U.S. manufacturing worker now stands at 56, according to a New York Times article), declines in vocational training and an increase in technology brings the need for stackable credentials. One program created by The Manufacturing Institute combines college course study in specific high-skilled manufacturing areas and a paid internship to help bring needed math and technology skills to the workforce.
So, prepare your talent pipeline for the future. Does your company collaborate with trade schools, colleges and secondary schools to ensure they know what your company will be looking for in the near- and long-term? Have you created apprentice programs or training in a box? Do you have strong referral and retention programs that reward communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration?
Make sure you have relationships with the right resources to prepare your workforce for the future. Not only will this help your business, but it will enrich your community and position you as a good corporate citizen who creates talent solutions in your own backyard.