How to Combat Talent Shortages

By Teamable

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In every industry, employers are struggling to find candidates with the right blend of technical skills and soft skills, such as leadership, communication, and customer service.

Forty-five percent of employers have difficulty recruiting qualified talent to their companies. For large companies with more than two hundred and fifty employees, the talent shortage percentage jumps to 67 percent. 

One recent study found that by 2030, the global talent shortage will increase to 85 million people, resulting in $8.5 trillion in unrealized revenues annuallyCurrently, approximately one-third of companies report a lack of applicants, whereas another 27 percent say applicants lack both technical and soft skills required for their open positions. 

In order to effectively combat this growing talent shortage, employers need to adapt their recruiting efforts. Without changing their approach, employers could lose their competitive edge or end up hiring the wrong person for key roles, resulting in productivity and retention issues down the road. 

By rethinking recruiting and office culture, employers can redefine their talent needs and assess the best sources for hiring in order to curb the effects of talent shortages. Here are some overlooked ideas on navigating this new world of hiring. 

Be more flexible 

In the past, human resources professionals have been tasked to find talent through traditional avenues, such as job boards or recruiters. To find talent in today’s marketplace, though, employers have a lot more options. 

Approximately one-third of employers look for non-traditional candidates to fill skills and talent gaps. These employers deliberately search for talent through different ages, demographics, and backgrounds. Employers target retirees, returning parents, part-time employees, or contract employees. To find qualified employees, recruiters need to look across various sources of talent and labor, including candidates that may not be highlighted by job boards or other sources. 

Since non-traditional candidates may not have the education and experience that has typically led to a particular roleassessments that quantify talents (patterns of thought and behavior, including things like communication, adaptability, and innovation) can enable hiring managers to identify top performing individuals among non-traditional candidates.  

Source with referrals 

Employers can attract like-minded candidates with talents and skills similar to their high-performing employees through robust referral programs. Employee referrals produce the highest quality candidates and the highest percentage of recruiting volume than any other hiring method. 

By encouraging your employees to refer talent, through a referral-based culture, incentives, and recognition, employers can attract top talent that has already been pre-screened by current employees. These current employees are familiar with the company’s culture and mission would be and will typically refer candidates that meet skills requirements and are a culture add as well. 

Current employees can bring in active and passive talent that an employer may not find otherwise. To ramp up an employee referral program, it's a good idea for employers to encourage employees to check their social media connections. It's hard to bring to mind every graphic designer you know, for example, and social media can help bring up these connections that go otherwise overlooked. 

Consider freelancers 

Talent recruitment traditionally focuses on hiring candidates for permanent, full-time positions, but the workforce itself is shifting. In 201856.7 million Americans worked as freelancerswhether on a full-time basis or as a supplement to their traditional job, contributing more than one million hours a year. Sixty-one percent of those who freelance do so by choice as opposed to necessity. Technology adds to the growth in freelancing, with 64 percent of freelancers finding work online. 

With work preferences changing and more emphasis put on flexibility, employers should explore the freelancing workforce to fill specific skills gaps within the company. With eighty-seven percent of workers willing to consider a freelance, contract, or temporary position, often referred to as Next-Gen workemployers should consider these workers for positions within their companies. 

Employers can start by engaging with freelancers on specific projects to see if the freelancer performs well. Further, employers and freelancers alike can test out the job and the company’s culture to know if it’s a good fit. Before the company extends a full-time offer of employment, both the company and the freelancer have had a test run, deciding whether or not to move forward. 

Not every job requires a full-time employee. By filling specific tasks, projects, or positions with qualified, talented freelancers, the company can solve for the talent and skills gap without hiring full-time employees. With 87 percent of freelancers stating that the best days of freelancing are aheademployers should tap expertise from this industry. 

Train your workforce 

Companies should look inward to their employees to fill certain positions. By educating and training employees, employers can “upskill” their workforces, making their employees more qualified for open positions. In 2018, over 50 percent of companies invested in learning and development tools for their employees, up from 20 percent in 2014. Sixty-four percent of employers increased their hard skills training and education, and 56 percent increased their training in soft skills, such as communication and leadership. 

Training and development not only solve talent needs but it also improves retention, lessening the need to search for new talent continuously. Ninety-four percent of employees indicate that they’ll stay at a company longer if the company invested in their training and development. Employers, however, need to be strategic about identifying the hard and soft skills demanded by their workforce and required within their industry. By developing talent from within, employers promote skills growth with and positive morale from their current employees. 

Don’t let the growing talent shortage affect your recruiting success. Candidates with the right talent and skills exist - they're just tricky to find. Employers need to become flexible in sourcing talent, embrace employee referrals, and strategically train and develop their current employees. By doing so, employers can find the right candidates to fill open projects and positions, and embrace the future of work. 

This blog post was originally published to the Teamable blog.