The retirement en masse of the “baby boomer” generation is predicted to create a large number of job openings in the coming years. While this “employee’s market” may be a boon for those looking for work, it can pose challenges for those looking to hire – especially when it comes to minding the “skills gap.”
When an experienced employee retires, he or she takes years’ worth of skills and abilities out of the daily life of the company. In order to remain competitive, companies must pay attention not only to which positions are being vacated, but which skills the last holders of those positions contributed to the organization – and hire replacements who can fill those gaps. Strategic staffing decisions can ease the pain of “skills gap” considerably, but only if companies are aware of the problem and ready to tackle it.
Middle management is one area expected to suffer considerably from “skills gap” in the coming years, as talented and experienced middle managers retire, leaving a large number of inexperienced candidates to fill the openings. Here are some ways you can help reduce “gaps” in your own company:
- Cultivate talent. Employees who are not likely to leave soon should be encouraged to develop their skills, talents, and experience. Consider implementing a mentoring program or supporting workers who plan to go back to school to develop a needed skill. Give employees the opportunity to work on projects that expand their current skill sets.
- Offer cross training. Cross training workers across jobs within a department or even across departments offers two benefits: employees can more easily fill in when a particular skill or ability is missing, and employees develop a better sense of the organization’s functions and goals, giving them the tools they need to increase productivity and efficiency.
- Consider temporary help. If you can’t find specific skill sets within the company or don’t have time for re-education or cross-training, consider relying on temporary employees who have the specific skills you need. Temporary workers can buy you the time to find superstar employees, or they can become the very stars you’re hoping to hire.