Is There Such a Thing as Skills Gap?

/ April 27, 2017/ Backend

Economic growth results in high demand for jobs. High demand for jobs means more recruitment. Yet, when hiring, most businesses consider skills as the key. And with that, there seems to have a kind of technical or digital skills shortages.

Technology changed the job market scene.

We have brand new skills and careers like UX (user experience) designer, social media analysts, and online community manager. These jobs didn’t exist ten years ago. And now that we have virtual reality and other advances in digital marketing and business solutions, the effect of technology on businesses, particularly on the job market, continues.

Schools can’t keep up

Not only big companies find this digital skills gap a challenge, but also small businesses struggle to meet their needs and at the same time fill the gap. The demand for digital skills continues to rise but schools and training programs can’t keep up. The skills the youth learned in college becomes outdated once they enter the workforce.

There’s a generation gap

As the talent gets younger, the skill sets get smarter. The real challenge now is finding the right roles, keeping them, and honing them in the long run. But generation gap fuels the problem. Children today are digital natives having grown up around the latest devices and technology. They’re already web-savvy and learned technology in schools as compared to the current workforce who saw the advent of digital revolution. These are the same current workforce who embraced technology to keep up with the times but are reluctant to change.

Lack of talent in the local workforce

The lack of talent in the local area also forced businesses to look for the skills they need outside or abroad. Companies get a better bargain for hiring foreigners who have the knowledge and skills for a lower pay.

Old perceptions, misconceptions

Many still do not understand what a digital role actually is. Also, roles like software engineer is still believed to be exclusive among men. Most of the applicants for the position of software engineer are men. Thus, this perception has to change. Break the gender, age, and other discriminatory issues.

The skills gap myth

Some argue that skills gap is not true. It is a disconnect between the way companies set up to attract and keep talents and what these new recruits actually want from an employee. Also, the skills gap myth stemmed from companies that don’t have a clue on the kind of culture required for digital success.

Consider us creative

Most jobs in software and web development are still treated like any other white-collar jobs. These talents are more of creatives like designers and writers. They don’t want to be tied to a 9 to 5 schedule. And if they have to, they get bored or might find the job monotonous. Businesses whose core is technology should transform their work culture to embrace the diversity of the workforce. Providing the environment of free-spirit, creative culture, talents like programmers and developers will thrive. Their presence is not about the money but the experience.

The resume doesn’t say it all

And how will you know if you have the right person for the role? There’s no way you can distinguish on paper one’s value from another. Determining whether an individual has the right mix of skills and expertise to become a good software or web developer is tough for any individual without technical knowledge to recruit the right people.

If companies want to bridge the skills gap, they have to change their hiring perception from “I want applicant X” to “I want to enable worker Y, what do I need to achieve this goal?” Once companies identify what they want, they can work with their employees what they have and lack, and establish the skills needed to bridge it. This takes a lot of dialogue and training which both provide feedback.

Attitude plays a part

So, with consultancy, mediation, and education, the skills gap will close. Quality and consistency should be the key to development. Also, aside from knowledge and skills, attitude also plays its part. Are they team players?

Also, companies should address the rising turnover that puts projects on compromise. Software and web development projects are not a one- or two-person job. A successful team requires at least five members. But, due to shortage, a two-member software development team has to do things themselves. What happens to this development when another company tempts a team member away with a promise of more money? The only option is either to offer a salary hike to keep the skills, or hope to recruit a new developer with the same ability to pick up and run with the project. The reality, as many organisations will attest, is that staff turnover can derail critical developments – which is why many end up being held to ransom by developers who recognize their intrinsic business value.

Room for improvement

Perfectionism does not apply in software and web development. A software or a website will never be enough. Thus, a pragmatic approach is much welcome and acceptable, plus a good understanding of a standardized process, giving spaces for improvement.

Building a good development team takes time, no shortcuts. It will take years of organization to meet the right blend of skills. Successful software or web development, whether to drive operational efficiency or create a new product, is measured on output anyhow.

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