Bridge the Skill Gap: How L&D Help Close the Talent Shortage
It’s one of the biggest challenges CHROs are facing today: a shortage of skilled labor. The global job market remains incredibly tight, which means that the pressure to attract, retain, and engage top talent is high. At the same time, many companies are going through a phase of digital transition, which triggers the need for both employees and leaders to future-proof their skills and mindset. In this article, we’ll explore how L&D can help close the talent shortage and provide actionable steps to upskill your workforce and fill critical skill gaps.
- Intro: Staying Ahead of the Curve through L&D
- What is the Skill Gap Exactly?
- How can L&D Create a Competitive Advantage?
- 7 Tips on How L&D Leaders Can Bridge the Skills Gap
1. Intro: Staying Ahead of the Curve through L&D
In today’s cut-throat job market and fast-changing world of work, finding the right talent to fill critical roles in your organization is more important than ever – especially since the global talent shortage in 2023 is only growing stronger – and it might even get worse in the coming years. Take a look at these numbers:
Talent shortage statistics 2023
- The skills gap is here, and it’s growing — today, 77% of employers report difficulty in filling roles – a 17-year high, according to a 2023 Manpower survey
- According to Linkedin’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report, skill sets for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, this number will likely double
- According to a report by IMF, the talent shortage in tech will swell to more than 85 million tech workers by 2030, which in turn can potentially translate to lost revenue of over $8 trillion annually
- The finance talent shortage is a pressing issue often overlooked in the business industry. However, more than 60% of CFOs struggle to find qualified candidates to fill their open finance positions
- The manufacturing talent shortage is another cause of distress in aerospace, automotive, electronics, and consumer goods industries. According to a Deloitte study, the US manufacturing industry is expected to have 2.1 million unfulfilled jobs by 2030
- Dell Technologies predicts that 85% of the jobs in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.
- Finally, 56% of hiring managers anticipate technological interventions like AI and other forms of workplace automation will cause a major shift in the kinds of skills they need employees to possess
2. What is the Skill Gap Exactly?
Simply put, the skill gap is like a missing puzzle piece between the skills an organization has in-house and the skills its workforce actually needs to push forward. This divide is driven by a range of factors, such as the short shelf-life of skills, the rapid pace of technological change, and AI advancements – in fact, the tech talent shortage in 2023 is especially pressing on many companies’ bottom lines. Developmental gaps are also caused by changes in business strategy, insufficient training, and a lack of modern L&D resources.
Skills gap examples
There are three types of skills gaps, which can occur on various levels:
- Individual level: your employees’ field of work is constantly changing, but they haven’t kept up with the necessary skill development. For instance, some roles have become more data-driven, yet your talents don’t have the know-how to work with this data because of a training gap in your organization
- Organizational level: your organization requires specific skills to progress and evolve, but those skills are lacking. For instance, the IT department may not have enough machine learning experts or knowledge of cybersecurity
- Market level: when there’s a significant demand for a particular field of work, but there aren’t enough people with the right skills entering that market. For instance, many countries face a significant shortage of talent in healthcare, technology, and education
Why investing in L&D matters
To stay ahead of the curve and achieve organizational agility, CHROs need to anticipate their future talent needs and invest in upskilling and reskilling their workforce. By doing so, they can build resilience against economic challenges and future-proof their businesses against disruptive times, including market turbulence, inflation, the Green Transition, the Great Resignation, a culture of quiet quitting, and last but not least: digital transformation.
Talent will seek more job stability this year. Even if some organizations have to downsize in 2023, that still doesn’t take away the necessity of developing and investing in their remaining talents. L&D provides this stability as it boosts both talent engagement and progresses their careers with agility in the company.
Aref Abedi, CEO of Jobylon in Lepaya’s State of Skills Report
3. How can L&D Create a Competitive Advantage?
With the right approach to Learning and Development, you can attract talent during a worker shortage and close the skills gap. Why? Because learning-centric companies that put their people’s professional growth at the heart of their strategy are able to keep a competitive advantage, especially in a tight labor market and a corporate world that is fast-paced and ever-changing. Here’s how:
- Improving employee engagement: when you give your teams the opportunity to learn and grow, they will feel more invested in your organization, leading to higher levels of engagement and a happier workforce
- Enhancing performance and productivity: with access to ongoing learning opportunities, your talent can develop new skills and knowledge that will improve their performance and productivity on the job
- Future-proofing your operations: when you invest in continuous learning paths, you can create a highly skilled workforce. And with those top talents on board, you’ll be more agile and responsive to emerging industry trends and technologies, not to mention changing market conditions
- Reducing turnover: one of the main reasons your A-players leave is because of the lack of perspective for career advancement within the company. When you invest in L&D, they can learn new skills, grow into new roles, and be challenged to become better at what they do. They’ll be much more willing to stay with your company over the long term, reducing turnover and associated costs
- Attracting top talent: organizations prioritizing L&D create a positive image for their employer brand. If you show potential candidates you’re invested in their development, it will be much easier to attract those top talents
- Fostering innovation and creativity: learning and development can inspire employees to think outside the box and generate new ideas, leading to innovation and creativity within the organization
You might also like: The Art of Top Talent Retention: How to Stop Losing A-players
4. 7 Tips on How L&D Leaders Can Bridge the Skills Gap in Their Organizations
It’s safe to say that it’s challenging to keep up with the global talent shortage, adapt to a changing world of work and attract new talent, let alone determine exactly what skills your employees will need to future-proof their careers. The good news is that L&D is well-positioned to help organizations tackle these tough challenges. With a focus on new and better skills, learning is the way forward to bridge the skills gap and thrive in today’s business environment.
Tip 1: Make a skills analysis
How to identify skill gaps? The best way is to start with a skills gap analysis to identify disparities in your employees’ skills and knowledge. You can do this on both a team and individual level. First, talk to staff-level employees and team leads, who can help determine what skills are missing in different departments. Next, use HR technology and establish KPIs to understand each employee’s contribution to your business. Finally, have a clear vision of where your organization wants to go and what your employees must be able to do to get there. You can also use external experts’ help in identifying team skills and areas of improvement.
Tip 2: Determine what skills to focus on
With innovations like AI taking the world by storm, it’s logical to worry: do we have a workforce with the digital savviness to adopt game-changing technologies? Keeping up with these innovations is critical to a successful digital transformation, so it’s inevitable to upskill your workforce’s technical skills. But it’s not just hard tech skills that will future-proof your business. Analytical thinking, empowering leadership, resilience, and communication are just as vital in a successful digital transition. These skills will keep your employees relevant in their roles and prepared for the future. Make a training needs analysis (or a training gap analysis) to identify your team’s upskilling and reskilling needs.
Tip 3: Invest in targeted training programs to close the gaps
Take action and provide your employees with the best possible, future-proof learning experience – tailored to their personal needs, those of your organization, and the demands of the market.
For instance, at Lepaya, we:
- Use AI technology to make learning more accessible and engaging
- Use microlearning and bite-sized content to provide short, focused training that can be easily integrated into employees’ natural flow of work
- Use blended learning to combine different training methods, such as online and in-person training, for a more comprehensive approach
- Use VR simulations and role-playing exercises to provide realistic training scenarios
- Provide leadership training to help your talents develop the skills they need to take on management roles
- Use data analytics to measure the learning impact
We’re expecting skill training to increase in 2023 because L&D budgets are trending upwards. This highlights the increasing value organizations will place on upskilling in 2023 and understanding that L&D is essential to organizational growth.
The State of Skills Report, Lepaya
Tip 4: Foster a culture of continuous learning
L&D can foster a culture of continuous learning within an organization, encouraging employees to take ownership of their development and seek out new opportunities for growth. By promoting a growth mindset and investing in ongoing employee development, you can build a more engaged and motivated workforce better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future of work.
Tip 5: Develop a mentoring program
Incorporate social learning into your training plans by encouraging employees to share knowledge and skills with each other, and set up mentoring programs. According to Harvard Business Review, peer-to-peer learning can be a powerful development tool that breaks through some common barriers to skill-building —especially as this way of learning taps into the expertise that already exists in your organization.
Tip 6: Boost internal mobility
Another strategic solution for closing the skills gap is to leverage your current talent pool instead of relying solely on external hiring. There are numerous ways to do this. Job rotation, for example, where employees at the same level switch tasks or roles occasionally. This helps your teams to learn how different tasks are performed within the organization. Research shows that this dynamic task swapping leads to less one-sided work, more motivation, and new knowledge and skills development. Promoting from within and providing reskilling opportunities is a smart way to address talent shortage challenges while fostering a culture of employee growth and development.
Tip 7: Make L&D a priority
Finally, make learning and development a priority at every level of the organization, from the C-suite to entry-level employees. Closing the skills gap through L&D requires a comprehensive and strategic approach, but by implementing these tips, you can help your teams to develop the skills needed to succeed.
89% of L&D professionals agree that proactively building employee skills for today and tomorrow will help navigate the evolving future of work. This moment requires agility — and L&D can lead the way.
2023 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn
The nature of our work is rapidly evolving, with new technologies, changing workforce demographics, and shifting economic and social conditions. To thrive in this environment, companies need a workforce that is agile, adaptable, and continuously learning. L&D plays a vital role in enabling this transformation. By providing your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in new roles and adapt to changing environments, L&D helps organizations stay ahead of the curve. This includes providing targeted training and development programs to close skills gaps, offering coaching and mentoring to support employee growth, and leveraging technology to create immersive learning experiences.
Lepaya is an L&D Technology and Power Skill training provider with a vision to connect people’s potential to business impact. We’re designed to offer learning content, methodology, and technology in one platform as part of your learner’s flow.
Solve the 2023 Talent Retention Puzzle
Learn how to attract, engage and retain resilient talent in 2023. Understand which skills to prioritize to impact your teams.Download the State of Skills Report