Understanding the skills gap is vital for your business to thrive. Artificial intelligence, automation, and the gig economy have changed the nature of work. Skills gap statistics show that 60% of employers advertise new positions that remain open for 12 weeks.

You have probably skimmed through headlines that state a visible gap of skills in manufacturing and cybersecurity. But even if you’re under the impression that the whole skills gap is a myth, there is definite proof of the lack of engineering and technical skills. Both skills are instrumental in the future of work. 

Since the problem of skills shortage is growing, it is no wonder if you are among those that have been affected. It has caused specific problems for your business. And, if you, as the majority of companies, are struggling to find talent at a cost that will keep you afloat in times of digital disruption and change, then it is time to think of bridging the gap with freelance teams.

how to fix the skills gap

What is the Skills Gap?

A skills gap or skills shortage is a substantial misfit between what employers look for and what employees offer on the job market.

Part of the blame for the skills shortage is assigned to the education failing to meet changing industry needs. Educational institutions are laden with bureaucracies, which often take many years to change. In times of massive technological change, they are not quick to respond. Employees must self-train or rely on a comprehensive onboarding process that includes on-the-job training from the future employer. Pressured by time, companies that want to find or keep the best talent still must demonstrate a willingness and the capacity to look for alternative solutions.

Skills Gap Definition

On a broader organizational level, the skills shortage is the organization’s inability to achieve goals and meet customer demands with its current workforce.

Although skills and competencies are not synonyms, skills can include competencies, and both terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Both refer to unpreparedness to deal with how the market needs are changing. 

bridge the digital skills gap

Regardless of how you define the skills gap in your company, you need to address the lack of capacity fast. You cannot rely on traditional employment schemes: they are slow and fragile. New work is in so many ways different from work from just a few years back: it is a societal change that you must embrace to expand your organization beyond its current capabilities. You must have the ear of your customers.

Is the Skills Gap a Myth?

According to the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), there is no lack of skills. The employers are the ones to take responsibility by retraining their workers. However, if we consider research done by the Harvard Business Revier, the talent shortage is real.

Research results are convenient from a strategic perspective. But as a leader, you cannot do business by shifting blame. Taking a part of the responsibility is a bitter pill to swallow, but one you must take. The road ahead should be based on:

  • Reskilling your workforce
  • Redesigning work structures to meet the demands of real-world jobs. 

Real-world jobs keep both employers and employees on their toes, aware of the changing environment, and the need to be adaptive and flexible. 

The Digital Skills Shortage

The two key differences between the digital skills gap and any other skills shortage area are:

  • The speed at which the gap is growing, and 
  • The effect it has on changing job roles. 

The workforce structure has changed, resulting in jobs that focus on skills rather than on roles. Therefore, addressing the newly arisen needs for skills can be solved by prioritizing them. 

Reshape with Expert Skillset

Leaders should look not only for people with the right skillsets but people with expert skillsets. Such a strategy brings a competitive advantage compared to others. You get top talent that is immediately ready to respond to a job. 

Accelerate with Global Talent

A significant benefit of working with freelancers is the global outreach. Global collaboration expands your workforce beyond your current talent pool. In a virtual office, you can link new customer needs to innovative problem-solvers and tech experts and solve problems you haven’t been able to access locally.   

Skills Gap Examples

Surprisingly enough, potential job candidates lack not only hard skills but also soft skills. However, in the growing system of remote work, most businesses struggle with finding employees with skills such as:

  • Bilingual or multilingual capacity 
  • Database management 
  • Content Management Systems (CMS) 
  • Digital marketing, specifically SEO and SEM 
  • Data science, data mining, and statistical analysis 
  • Mobile development

By remaining aware of the most sought-after technical skills, you grow your company’s capability to respond to customer needs. 

When you hire a freelancer to solve a specific skills shortage, you add another layer of precision and immediacy to the workforce structure. 

In a nutshell, when you have the structure set in place, it is easy to fill the skill gaps with appropriate talent, and do it quickly.

You need to understand in-demand skills and fill them with on-demand talent.

Running a Skills Gap Analysis

A skills gap analysis is somewhere in-between risk analysis and classic SWOT analysis. To learn about organizational skill shortage, you need to:

  1. Analyze your company skills’ strengths and weaknesses
  2. Explore customer needs to identify opportunities and threats 
  3. Assign an importance level to each factor
  4. Maximize on areas of potential – retain roles with skills that bring maximum benefits
  5. Address threats and risks by hiring freelancers 

By going through these steps, you will design a skills gap analysis template. A skills gap analysis template is the must-have hiring tool for rethinking business priorities, adjusting strategy, and accomplishing new goals.

The Digital Leader Role in Bridging the Skills Gap in 2020

The 2019 skills gap in 2019 shows that 75% of HR professionals have had difficulties recruiting in the past 12 months. Refreshing the strategic HR approach and internship programs are solutions that have solved only a part of the skills gap problem. Moreover, tools for a massive HR overhaul are more available to large organizations and less available to small and medium-sized businesses. 

skills gap analysis

But freelance talent is an effective ad-hoc solution to hiring challenges even if your company has just a couple of employees. How can you expand your skills with freelance virtual teams?

  • Establish a culture of digital leadership. Embody the skills you expect from your employees.
  • Create alliances with innovation centers. For example, reach out to modern technology hubs and open-source software platforms. 
  • Place strategy before operations. Rethink skills strategy, then implement operational changes. Rephrase job roles into job skills
  • Create processes to respond to frequently changing customer needs. For instance, switch to agile methodology.
  • Acquaint yourself with technology. Technology is now about strategy, too, as it is about operations. You don’t need to be a tech expert, but you need to understand its potential to bridge the gap between job needs and job skills.

We can help you build agile and responsive virtual teams.

Learn to grow and scale your business with virtual teams and global freelancers with our FREE Virtual Team Starter Pack!

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