Throughout the month of August, our resident talent advisors have been discussing issues around the biggest recruiting issues right now and getting you ready for CareerBuilder’s Empower 2015. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions, and find out more about Empower 2015 here.
I loved studying economics at college. It opened a door for me to a world I’d never once considered. Before, prices just existed, resources just happened — and how they came together was simply a beautiful consequence of this wonderful world that I was starting to explore. The introduction of the forces of supply and demand was like some Hogwartian magic.
The labour market is no different to any other type of market in that the powers of supply and demand exist. Unfortunately, our labour market is broken, and this is one of the biggest challenges that the field of human resources has to face over the next decade. Our obsession with looking inside and not out has meant that we’ve allowed the problem to become bigger than it needs to be.
The real “skills gap”
We talk about a “skills gap,” but that gap didn’t just suddenly happen. It is the product of our lack of care and attention, our inability to influence policy makers, and our disregard for our supply chain. Fingers point around, looking for someone to take the blame — when the reality is we should have been noticing this trend sometime back in the early ’90s.
Imagine two spinning plates. One is 10 times the size of the other, but the motor rotating them both is operating at the same speed. You’re standing on the edge of the larger plate and required to leap and land at a specific point on the smaller one. That’s our labour market, and that’s why we think we have a skills gap.
The larger wheel working in longer cycles is our education system. It’s pushing out resources based on extremely unresponsive policy making and a fixed idea of the end of the production line. The smaller wheel is our business needs, operating at increasingly faster speeds and with less predictable needs. Many of the skills we require today, we hadn’t even thought of five years ago.
And yet we expect the markets to predict that and deliver.
Stepping up to the (spinning) plate
Market economics predicts the pull of demand will inform supply, but the increasingly different speeds of the cycles makes this impossible. Supply will not re-correct, which means demand has to — and this is where our challenge lies.
The forces of the past will tell you there is a new war for talent and that you need to go into the trenches to defeat your competitors. I’m telling you that this is only solved by changing what you want and looking to build capability internally. The skills gap can only be solved by organisations recruiting differently and developing the skills we need ourselves. The ones that do will be able to innovate, create and grow, they’ll gain competitive advantage – through human resources.
New here? Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions that will help you take your HR game to the next level.