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Closing the Skills Gap > Forecasts > Staffing & Recruiting > Talent Acquisition

How the Staffing Industry Can Help Tighten the Skills Gap

staffing firmAt companies across the United States, executives are facing a possible talent shortage as individuals with valuable technical experience and skills near retirement age. Many organizations today are scrambling to find the right talent to fill critical positions.

Though clients and business partners believe the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills gap is real, they have yet to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses their future workforce needs. As a valued partner to our clients, the staffing industry has an opportunity – and a responsibility – to help develop the workforce to bridge this gap.

How staffing companies can help tighten the skills gap

The staffing industry has a responsibility to find the right individuals to fill positions and help our clients achieve success. We need to help build the talent base. Through education, outreach, training and development, we can create interest in these occupations and help prepare the workforce to step into these roles in the future.

For example, we can introduce these positions to students well before they graduate. Our participation in job fairs, career day opportunities and events such as week-long math and science camps will expose students to careers in technical industries and demonstrate the opportunities that exist in these fields. We can also help students with an aptitude for math and science understand what they can do with those skills when they graduate by exposing them to real-life examples of technology careers.

Furthermore, staffing organizations can help build the talent profiles of these skilled workers for the future. By partnering with local colleges and universities, we can create valuable internships with our clients. Students can earn necessary credit and training by helping to solve real-world business challenges. Companies can also consider scholarship programs to students pay for the costs of training or higher education; in return, the student agrees to work for the company for a period after graduation.

Finally, staffing companies will soon be in the position of helping our contractors create and execute training and development plans. In a variable workplace environment, the employee needs to take control of his or her own development plan. Staffing companies who provide access to training and development opportunities can develop a better pool to meet future client needs.

Filling the positions

Creating the desire and developing the workplace is critical to tightening the talent gap. Staffing industries play an important role, not only in making sure companies make the right hire, but also in helping companies retain those employees. This may mean working with boomers who have many years of experience with one company adjust to the culture of another, or working with companies to adapt policies that will increase flexibility and virtual workplaces.

While the STEM skills gap presents a challenge to the staffing industry and to our clients, addressing it early and strategically will change the way we do business, and the staffing industry is well-positioned to help. A recent study conducted by Inavero found that only 20 percent of companies are planning for their future workforce needs in the next two years, and only 6 percent are planning for the next five years.

Now is not the time for staffing firms to sit back and wait for the skills gap to figure itself out. The companies who will be successful are the ones who are engaged in creating a pool of talent to help our clients solve their complex workforce challenges.

The preceding article is excerpted from CareerBuilder’s upcoming 2014 Recruitment Guidebook, featuring the 2014 Q1 U.S. Job Forecast and the 2014 Staffing & Recruiting Pulse Survey.

About the author: Donna Carroll is Vice President, Sales, Americas, for CDI Corporation’s Professional Services Staffing business.

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