HR Management & Compliance, Most Popular

What Employers—and Employees—Can Do to Help Close the Skills Gap

That was among the findings of “The Accenture Skills Gap Study,” an online survey of more than 1,000 employed and unemployed workers recently conducted by Accenture (www.accenture.com).

The study also found that 52 percent of survey participants have acquired technology skills in the past 5 years, but significantly smaller percentages have updated their problem-solving skills (31 percent), analytical skills (26 percent), and managerial skills (21 percent).

Also, 68 percent of respondents indicated that they believe it is primarily their own responsibility to update their skills—rather than their employer’s responsibility. However, while 80 percent of employed workers understand which skills are likely to be in demand in the next 5 years, only 53 percent of unemployed workers reported that they do.

“There is an escalating talent crisis, and employers should not assume that workers have the resources or knowledge to acquire all the skills they will need,” said David Smith, managing director—Accenture Talent & Organization. 

“Our study shows that workers are prepared to improve and expand their skills, but they’re not receiving sufficient support to develop those skills. In addition to investing in training, employers will have to become more transparent about their talent requirements and more creative about leveraging the skills they already have within their organizations.”

The study identified factors that could be hindering employers and impacting their ability to fully utilize their workers’ skills, such as having an incomplete picture of all of the skills within their organization to handle specific jobs and limited ability to shift employees to different jobs internally.

While 53 percent of survey participants said their employers document their skills, 38 percent said their employers do not look at all of their talents and capabilities when matching employees to jobs; instead, their employers only consider specific job experience and education.

In addition, only 34 percent of participants find it easy to transfer internally to another job where their skills would be best utilized, and 49 percent indicate that they have a clear understanding of the skills needed for different roles and career paths.

“Many employers have hidden talent in their organizations that they haven’t effectively tapped,” Smith said, adding that analytical tools can help managers assess existing skills within their organizations.