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Spain – Businesses need to adapt to overcome skills shortages

30 December 2013

Many Spanish companies fail to find employees with the right skills, despite record high unemployment rates. Thus, thousands of vacancies are unfilled.

There is a clear gap between what comes out of universities and the needs of companies. But this is not just a problem for those seeking employment or looking to change jobs: a good deal of organisations have begun to consider very recently what they really need to face the growing skills mismatch.

José María Martín, Director of Talent Attraction and Management for ManpowerGroup in Spain, confirms that "paradoxically, there are difficulties in finding certain skills which imply that some adaptation is required from candidates, and not all of them are able to". Martin explains that "by asking companies whether their HR strategy is designed to anticipate and overcome the difficulties in filling certain positions, 50% acknowledge that they don’t currently have a plan to attract talent. But this is essential to operate in the new market models that are emerging. "

Martín believes that many of the organisations are so concerned with taking the company forward that they tend to underestimate the changes that are taking place in the labour market, "even though it seems obvious that a change in the professional profile of their staff is required to achieve strategic objectives, and this is only beginning to happen".

Silvia Leal, adviser to the European Commission for new technologies and employability, agrees that many SMEs "are not aware that they need these different candidates until they realise they cannot move forward without them." José María Martín says that "the new profiles involve new skills adapted to a different reality." It also warns that "this is not only the responsibility of companies to adapt, professionals are also required to take a similar approach about their career plans and in order to improve their employability."

Silvia Leal reveals that, according to the draft of the e-Skills report to be published by the European Commission, by 2015 there will be between 864,000 and 372,000 unfilled vacancies in ICT across Europe: "This is a serious problem, and that tells us that shortages in technological skillsets are only the tip of the iceberg for the ICT sector.” Leal recalls that in the case of SMEs these profiles that are difficult to cover are related to mobility (mobile applications) and social networks, while for large companies it is difficult to find big data specialists: "For every candidate there are 25 vacancies"; also adding that for big data specialists "a good understanding of the maths is more important than being familiar with the technology: the key here is to understand the ins and outs of the process." In fact, the large unmet demand for professionals focusing on metrics and analytics shows that there is a growing need for more candidates with background in mathematics.

Leal advises young people seeking work to change sector, and adding that technology skillsets will facilitate the move: "For every job that disappears in the traditional sector, 2.6 jobs are created in the digital economy."


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