Solving the skills shortage

During my time in this industry one of the key issues I’ve faced is trying to navigate the path between recruiters who tell me there’s a skills shortage, and candidates who say they can’t get a job.

Both sides have a role to play in ensuring high quality candidates are placed in available positions.

First, it’s important for candidates to make sure they have the skills employers are looking for. At ITCRA, we collect placement data from our Members on a regular basis, and found that in the second quarter of 2011, there was little correlation between the skills employers were requesting in job advertisements, and those offered by candidates.

In fact, only two of the top 10 skills in demand by employers were among the top 10 skills offered by candidates.  Help desk and project management experience are the key skills employers are requesting, but these aren’t being offered by the majority of job candidates. It therefore makes sense for candidates who want to be employable to upskill in these areas.

It’s also important for candidates to keep their skills up to date by undertaking relevant training through a registered training organisation. Qualifications gained through a recognised authority can give potential employers confidence that candidates have the ability to perform successfully in the role.

At the same time, recruiters need to have the right processes in place to make sure all candidates are getting a fair go.

In order to become an ITCRA Certified Recruitment Professional, recruiters need to have successfully completed our certification exam, which covers procedures on a range of topics, including candidate management. By dealing with an ITCRA Member, candidates can be confident that their consultant will have the necessary skills to represent them fairly to potential employers, and help them secure a job.

Rather than describing the current situation as a ‘skills shortage’, I’d call it a ‘skills mismatch’. Both recruiters and candidates need to work together to minimise this, and achieve positive outcomes for both parties.