ASTD research in 2009 identified two underlying causes of the skills gap:
- Jobs are changing.
- Educational attainment is lagging the need for skills.
A skills gap among newly-hired graduates is hurting Africa’s competitiveness
IMPACT OF THE SKILLS GAP
An unprepared workforce can hamper the performance and growth of an organization. In their book, The Chief Learning Officer: Driving Value Within a Changing Organization, authors Tamar Elkeles and Jack Phillips write that “Nothing is more devastating to an organization than not having a fully prepared workforce…An unprepared workforce can reduce profits, impede market share, create inefficiencies, lower morale, and/or increase attrition. More importantly, it can affect the quality of service provided to customers.” A lack of skilled workers also harms the economy, according to many sources. “Eighty percent of U.S. manufacturers cannot find educated, skilled workers for their entry-level jobs.
Without a skilled workforce, our manufacturers cannot continue to be the drivers of innovation and will not be successful in the global economy,” says Emily Stover DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute and senior vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers. This is in America, conversely this is a problem that has always plagued Africa.
A decade ago, studies showed that increases in educational attainment were responsible for 11 to 20 percent of growth in worker productivity in the U.S. according to a white paper from the National Center for Education and the Economy. “For 20 years, we have experienced extraordinary productivity in the private sector, and the increases in productivity have been supported both by technology improvements and a better educated workforce.” But now, the white paper continues, “New investment in workforce education and training will have a more important function: to meet the demand for higher skilled positions.”
IMPROVING SKILLS FOR A BETTER JOB—VIRTUALLY
A study from Pew Research found that 25 percent of Internet users have used it to seek material about how to improve their skills to qualify for better jobs. This is an especially popular search with younger adults: 43 percent of “economic users” ages 18-29 have done such searches, compared with 19 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 64. They also found that searches for improving skills were also popular among people in households earning less than $50,000. Here is a story from Pew’s qualitative online survey about how a respondent worked through the process of deciding how to upgrade his skills while seeking the job of an insurance analyst:
“I applied for, was interviewed in a four-step process, and was offered a new position at my company. Many of the responsibilities of this new position are familiar, but there is one subject area that I wasn’t very familiar with, so I researched this online, gathered information, saved information for later review and analysis, and made my decision accordingly. There are professional/educational organizations that deal with this topic (data quality), and an industry-standard certification process sponsored by one of these organizations, so I sought out materials online from these groups and reviewed these more carefully. In addition, I reviewed vendor materials about the data quality tools and resources they offer, although I gave these less importance than I did the trade organization information because of the fact that they are in essence marketing materials and may not be as factual. And finally I researched the topic of data quality control and assessment in general through science and technology articles in sources such as periodicals and newspapers. All of this research was done online.”
SOURCE: PEW INTERNET, “THE INTERNET AND THE RECESSION”
Bridging the skills gap (http://www.astd.org/NR/rdonlyres/CBAB6F0D-97FA-4B1F-920C-6EBAF98906D1/0/BridgingtheSkillsGap.pdf
The point of this is to indicate that the skills gap within organizations exist, we should consider the organization as either a business or a community of people like a country or state, looking at this from this perspective would allow for the use of skill needs analysis and skills development techniques for but businesses and communities. One of such techniques is www.careergong.com. Watch the video to see how careergong brigdes the skills gap in sub sahara Africa.