4 Ways for Staffing Firms to Take on the Skills Gap

Gareth Rogan Staffing, Tips & Tricks

Publications continue to write about the talent gap, calling it a myth. Yet businesses still report tremendous difficulty filling open positions. The skills gap is no myth – it’s real. What are staffing companies going to do about it? These are 4 things they should consider:

Where are the gaps?
First of all, it’s important to know where the talent discrepancies are. The truth is, the skills gap isn’t necessarily where most people think. Sure, developers and programmers are in high demand. But the hardest jobs to fill are in skilled labor. Mechanics, electricians and bakers are among the hardest talent to find. IT staff were actually ninth on the list, behind engineers, technicians and drivers. So why is it so hard to find applicants for these positions? Oddly enough, it corresponds to the retirement of baby boomers. According to AARP, boomers are reaching retirement age at the rate of about 10,000 each day. As talent labor continues to drop out of the market, many companies will have trouble finding the people they need to keep a business going.

Staffing agencies will likely be in greater demand now as companies simply lack the time to make placements they need.

“Staffing agencies are able to see what skills will be needed down the road.”

Invest in training programs
Because they have a focus on the future, staffing agencies are in a unique position to see what skills may be needed in the near future. This insight gives them time to prepare that other organizations may not have. To begin to solve the skills gap, staffing agencies should invest more in their talent. As Harvard Business School pointed out, much of the talent out there simply doesn’t have the skills companies are looking for as a result of their education. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of acquiring these abilities. Training programs and on-the-job learning will be the ways to gain these abilities. Staffing firms may need to find a way to cultivate the skills that are missing.

Create internships
Another way to do cultivate the right talent is through partnerships and internships. CareerBuilder suggested that staffing agencies build relationships with colleges and universities and create talent pipelines. Higher education doesn’t always offer the skills that jobs look for – providing on-the-job training through internships is another way to cultivate skills and build a database of qualified applicants for your clients.

Keep an eye on talent
Forming and maintaining relationships with key talent will be just as key to success as maintaining relationships with clients. Staffing agencies will need to rely on CRM-based applicant tracking software more than ever to ensure they don’t lose touch with the most important candidates. Staffing agencies need to treat their talent like needles in a haystack. Once the data is in your staffing software, be sure to send out regular email campaigns to keep in touch with them.

To successfully manage the skills gap, staffing agencies will need to pretend there isn’t one. If you can place talent quickly enough, clients may actually start to believe the talent gap is a myth.