Kasey LynchSeptember 6, 2023
Topics: Employee Experience

Cracking the Code: Explaining the Skills Gap and Its Impact on Careers

In today’s fluctuating job market, “skills gaps” have become an increasingly important topic in relation to employee retention and development. But what exactly is a skills gap, and why is it important? 

As industries continue to advance and respond to the economic climate, the disparity between the skills employers seek and those possessed by job seekers has widened, sparking the need to pay closer attention to the concept of skills gaps. Overall, the shelf life of a skill is approximately five years, ensuring that every organization is essentially guaranteed to experience a skills gap at some point. 

Whether you're an individual navigating your professional path or an employer striving to build a skilled team, understanding the essence of the skills gap is a crucial step toward informed decision-making and future success. Keep reading to uncover everything you need to know about skills gaps.

What is a Skills Gap? 

A skills gap refers to the mismatch between the skills and qualifications that job seekers possess and the skills and qualifications that employers require for a particular job or role. This disparity can manifest in various ways, such as a need for more individuals with specific technical expertise, soft skills, or industry-specific knowledge needed to perform effectively in a given position. 

The skills gap is often a result of rapid changes in technology, evolving job market demands, inadequate educational and training systems, and other factors that lead to a disconnect between the skills available in the labor market and the skills demanded by employers.

Unlock critical insights by downloading our Workforce Intelligence Guide: A Skills-Based Deployment and Adoption Plan now.

The Impact of the Skills Gap

Although a skills gap may seem like a simple issue with potentially straightforward solutions, its negative impact can actually cause a ripple effect across your organization. Here are two unexpected results that can be caused by a large gap in skill sets within your workforce: 

1. Stagnation of Career Growth and Employee Advancement

The skills gap can hinder individual career growth and advancement opportunities. Employees who lack the necessary skills to move up the career ladder may find themselves stuck in their current roles, and lack of visibility to which skills they lack leaves them stumped. This can lead to dissatisfaction, decreased motivation, and increased turnover — all of which negatively impact your workforce. 

Additionally, with advancements in artificial intelligence technology and automation, workers will often need to hone or develop new skills to better work with technology — or even support new areas of the business. When it comes to employee development, there’s nothing as certain as change, and with the right programs to support continuous improvement, your business can be better prepared to pivot to meet new challenges. 

2. Struggles in Innovation and Competitiveness

Today, innovation is everything, regardless of the industry. Everyone is continually looking to the next big technological advancement to improve their lives. 

The skills gap poses a significant threat to innovation by limiting the availability of skilled workers who can contribute fresh ideas and perspectives. Organizations that lack the necessary expertise may struggle to adapt to new technologies and market trends, hindering their ability to remain competitive.

Closing the Gaps With Workforce Intelligence 

Overall, addressing the skills gap is not just about meeting immediate workforce needs; it's about ensuring long-term economic vitality and sustainable growth for both businesses and society as a whole.

But historically, creating skills architectures that outline the capabilities of every individual within your workforce has been cumbersome and time-consuming. Plus, by the time your team finished, it was more than likely outdated. 

This is where workforce intelligence comes in. This emerging technology provides critical context that drives talent mobility and career development throughout the enterprise by offering deeper insights into supply and demand, skills gaps, and succession plans. It does this by leveraging a dynamic skills architecture to shorten your implementation time and keep your insights fresh by constantly learning from decisions made across the organization.

Workforce intelligence is also used as the intellectual backbone of a talent marketplace — intelligently connecting talent with learning and development opportunities that help close skills gaps and create an agile workforce. 

By leveraging artificial intelligence and workforce intelligence, your teams can skip the manual work while unlocking a breadth of insights that evolve alongside your employees — ensuring you have up-to-date information that allows for more streamlined succession planning and goal setting. 

Overall, artificial intelligence helps power workforce intelligence for HR leaders while a talent marketplace is the end solution that translates intelligent insights into actionable steps employees can take to progress in their careers. This unique pairing offers powerful solutions that positively impact numerous stakeholders within the business. 

Find out how your company can get started with skills insights and workforce intelligence by taking our Workforce Intelligence Maturity Assessment here.

Kasey Lynch

Kasey is a content marketing writer, focused on highlighting the importance of positive experiences. She's passionate about SEO strategy, collaboration, and data analytics. In her free time, she enjoys camping, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones — including her dog, Rocky. 

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