Are you finding it harder to fill positions in your organization? If you haven’t yet—you will. You can almost smell it in the air. There may come a time, in the near future, where you may be forced to alter or scrap plans because of a lack of talented employees. There are actions you can take, but the preparation is daunting, and you may not like it.

Nearly one-half of Employers are Short Staffed  

According to the seventh annual talent shortage survey from staffing firm ManpowerGroup, 49% of employers in all industries are experiencing difficulty filling open positions within their organizations, despite the fact that millions of people are still desperate for jobs… — Forbes

There are three primary causes.

Companies Expect More from Employees

Employers expect a lot more from employees than they did five years ago. In the last recession companies drastically cut staff. The remaining staff took on more. They had too. They learned new competencies and expanded their skills. The positions that were eliminated no longer exist. For example, I searched online for Social Media Marketing positions. In 2010 that was a job description. In 2015, it’s only a part of a job description. Several ads listed knowledge of social media marketing along with PR, Graphic design, coding, and WordPress skills as job requirements. One wanted the SMM candidate to be a photographer as well.

Higher Education is Failing

There’s a disconnect between higher education and industry. The number one most difficult position to fill in America is skilled trades—carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, The 10 Hardest Jobs to Fill in America. Higher education isn’t filling the void. There are exceptions, for example, Vincennes University Logistics Training and Education Center and ITT Tech, but they only scratch the surface of filling the needs of industry now and in the future. We need to support trade schools, and change the way we think. Everyone doesn’t need a Bachelors in fine arts. It’s not only OK to learn a skilled trade—it’s needed, it’s important, and it takes brains, skills, dedication, and hard work.

It’s Time to Train

Companies can’t wait to find skilled talent—they need to train it. Over and over again I’ve read articles and blogs dissecting why America is short on specific talent but seldom do I read anything putting the responsibility squarely where it belongs—industry. Organizations could solve many of their manpower problems if they looked for character and trained skills. A few companies “get it” such as Celadon, who offers a driver training school, but most sit back and wait to fill positions with experienced talent. That strategy is outdated.

Preparing for the Talent Shortage

  • Develop training programs Hire Character Train Skills. Training is time-consuming hard work. It means taking the time to create checklists and training procedures and then investing manager’s time in completing the training.
  • Help with student loans. Recruit recent grads and offer to assist with student loans for qualified candidates that join your team.
  • Send employees to school. Want employees to take on more responsibility? Give them the skills.
  • Connect with a trade school. Offer to help any way you can. Be a mentor, guest speaker, or advocate, but get your foot in that door.
  • Retain the valuable talent you have. 4 Keys to Retaining employees

Will your Company be Ready?

If your organization is fortunate to the have the talent it needs then you’ve been very very lucky or very very good. Luck, eventually runs out and is outdistanced by planning, activities, and commitment. Are you committed to hiring and retaining the skilled talent your business needs to survive and grow? If you’re uncertain, answer this. Do you have a formalized written training procedure? If you didn’t answer absolutely—you may not be as committed or as ready as you think to survive the impending talent shortage.