39% of youth reported that their formal schools did not prepare them for the job they want. For young people throughout the world, the education systems are not providing them with the proper tools and knowledge for an increasingly complex workforce.
Half of all youth surveyed are not working, but 79% of those currently unemployed are actively looking for work: it’s been common to dismiss young people as unwilling to work or not wanting to contribute to society. Yet, evidence shows that youth don’t just want to make a better future for themselves – they want to transform their societies and countries.
What is causing these skills gaps?
At the core, the skills gap is an education issue,
The speed of business is changing faster than ever and our education system and social systems are not able to keep pace. “A deep focus on communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking is lacking in our current education system, but these are required skills for successful employment.”Note to educators: Teach these skills, model them, expect them!
A recent TEK System Study surveyed more than 1,300 leaders and professionals in IT in the U.S. Interestingly, leaders share some beliefs on the IT skills gap. Variations among them, however, may illustrate a lack of understanding, lack of communication, or lack of standardization.
Many potential employees are struggling with issues such as transportation. Others are not willing to live where the jobs are and can’t afford to relocate.
Employers tell us that they are looking for candidates with experience. This creates two issues. Firstly, the world of technology changes so rapidly that it is difficult to find employees with experience in emerging technologies and work practices.
Second, if educational institutions, employers, and individuals aren’t keeping up pace with these changes, the workforce will be left behind.
Advanced skills, such as a computer or IT skills, are in high demand now, and that will not change in the future—it will only become more critical. That said, the number of students focusing on these areas as a course of study is declining. “We need to figure out why,”.
“How do we encourage the right students to pursue the relevant technical courses so that we have the needed skills in work?
This problem is best solved with an integrated approach between education and business.”
What Employers and Training Can Do
No matter what skills, one of the first investments a company should make is to align HR and the workforce strategy to the business strategy. “Based on the business strategy analysis, HR must forecast the skills necessary in the near and long-term future,”. Finally, a gap analysis will determine what steps should be taken to ensure a workforce that is required for the future.” This should answer questions such as:
- How many will we need?
- What skills?
- Where will we get them?
- Do they currently exist?
- Will we have to “make” them acquaintance with our training investment?
The second vital investment for a company should be in training. “Both new employees and incumbent workers should be offered training which helps them to keep their skills relevant.”
New hires should be acknowledged based on their attitudes and their aptitude for the position. “Then, a training investment should be made to get their skills in sync with the requirements of the position. And incumbent employees should be given the chance to upgrade their skills to qualify for new assignments or promotions.”
What are the top performers doing differently than everyone else, and how can you harvest that difference and pass it along to others? If it weren’t a skills gap, what else could it be?
It’s common to find a high-performing tier of students in every organization. One way to look at them is that they have taken all their training to heart. Another is that they have the same training as everyone else but have found ways to work around the other issues impacting work performance.
Some people are constrained by the box, while others are not. If that’s the case, pumping more product knowledge or sales skills and identifying new ways to work within the policies and procedures helps them achieve their success.
Tell yourself that you can learn it. Being challenged is part of the career advancement process. If you don’t extend yourself, you won’t move. Have the courage to realize that you will learn what you don’t know. Recognizing skills similar to what you thought you didn’t know will help you realize the gap is smaller than you think.
The next you consider an open door opportunity don’t ask,” Am I prepared to do it now?” Ask yourself,” Am I prepared to figure it out?”