Build, Buy, Borrow, Bridge: 4 Solutions for Solving the Talent Shortage Issue

With the low unemployment rate, finding top talent has been a recurring theme for 2018. Many companies are continuously reporting that they struggle to find skilled workers to fill roles. And new research, released by ManpowerGroup, drives this point further home. However, ManpowerGroup is now offering some suggestions to help fix the talent shortage issue.


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According to the ManpowerGroup 2018 Talent Shortage Survey of more than 2,000 U.S. employers, 46% of respondents report that they are struggling to find talent. Skilled trade workers, sales representatives, and drivers remain the hardest roles to fill.
“We continue to see increasing demand for skilled workers across all sectors of the U.S. economy from transport and trade to manufacturing and sales,” says Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “Employers cannot find the people they need with the right blend of technical skills and human strengths and the problem won’t fix itself.”
Most of the jobs where demand is growing are midskilled roles such as electricians, welders, and mechanics that require training, yet not always a 4-year college degree. More than half of the companies surveyed are investing in learning platforms and development tools to build their talent pipeline, up 7% from 2016. Nineteen percent of employers are also changing their existing work models, including offering flexible work arrangements.
Although unemployment remains low, there are millions of workers on the edge of the U.S. labor market. Companies are bringing in workers from the sidelines to fill talent gaps and 40% are looking at different talent pools for skills including boomerang retirees, long-term unemployed or returning parents, and part-time workers.
While these are just a few ways employers are trying to fill the void, ManpowerGroup has developed a theory to help you recruit more workers and reduce the talent shortage at your company: Build, Buy, Borrow, Bridge.
  • Build. Invest in learning and development to grow the talent pipeline and upskill the existing and potential workforce.
  • Buy. In a tight labor market, go to the external market to find the best talent that cannot be built in-house in the timeframe required to fill immediate openings.
  • Borrow. Cultivate communities of talent inside and outside the organization including part-time, freelance, contract, and temporary workers to complement existing workforce.
  • Bridge. Help people move on and move up to new roles inside or outside the organization.

Frankiewicz adds, “It’s time for a new approach to attract, recruit and retain talent. Employers need to buy skills where necessary, borrow from external sources and help people with adjacent skills bridge from one role to another. Above all, we need to be builders of talent, rather than consumers of work to create a workforce with the skills companies and individuals need to thrive today and tomorrow.”

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