- With a wide and worsening skills gap to contend with, 83% of HR professionals said they struggled with recruiting suitable candidates in the past 12 months, according to a new research study by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). The study highlights the need to address staff training and improve public policies governing the workplace, according to SHRM.
- In the SHRM Skills Gap Survey, 52% of HR professional respondents said the skills gap has "worsened" or "greatly worsened" in the past two years, and 83% said that the quality of job applicants decreased. More than a quarter said their organizations partner with schools to create a pipeline of candidates, but nearly half said the education system has done little to remedy the problem. Respondents identified the most effective ways to address the skills gap as providing onsite and offsite training for employees, starting or expanding training programs to improve new hires' skills, and increasing compensation.
- Although three-quarters of respondents said foreign-born workers make positive contributions to the U.S. economy and help drive innovation, more than one-third said their businesses found the insufficient number of available H-1Bs challenging. One-third called the immigration process "lengthy and complex with unpredictable outcomes." Respondents called for more employment visas, mandatory E-Verify registration and the creation of a trusted employer program for low-risk employers that comply with immigration laws.
The skills gap continues to be front and center among HR's biggest challenges, and employers are still pursuing ways to relieve the problem.
In the lead up to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address this week, SHRM CEO and President Johnny Taylor addressed HR's challenges in an online broadcast: "America's skills gap crisis is one of the greatest threats to our nation's long-term economic prosperity," Taylor said. He also urged officials to get behind employer-based healthcare and address the need for skilled foreign workers.
Employers are adopting less traditional recruiting strategies to close the skills gap, such as expanding their talent pools to include former employees, customers, ex-incarcerates and other non-traditional applicants. Others have experimented with requiring less stringent credentials in the recruiting process, instead focusing on skills.
Meanwhile, training current and future employees has emerged as a proactive approach to the skills gap, alongside stepping up development efforts through upskilling, apprenticeships, mentorship and sponsorship programs, and partnering with academic institutions. However, experts warn that employers and other stakeholders must invest and do more to improve the U.S. skilled talent situation on a broad scale.