All we hear about these days is how there are jobs going begging in different industries because suitable applicants cannot be found to take those positions. 52% of employers reported in a recent a survey that they are victims of this particular problem.
Now everyone wants to hold someone or something responsible for the sorry state of affairs. The most popular scapegoat we can find is the education system and the students in our country. We hear that our education system is obsolete, using 125 year-old techniques to produce risk-averse, passive learners – most of whom dislike studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics as subjects in school! Others prefer to blame the country’s immigration system.
Companies which struggle so hard to find someone to blame must not forget the basic truth: a pointing finger raised in accusation leaves three more fingers pointing at ourselves! Or, to put it bluntly, companies should stop blaming others and direct some of the blame at themselves.
There are various specific attitudes displayed by today’s employers that contribute to the problem:
Only the Fully Skilled Need Apply:
As we entered this millennium, two weeks of training annually for each employee was the norm. Employees were encouraged to pursue advanced degrees on their own time, with financial assistance from their employers. Companies today expect to invest nothing towards their prospective workers. They offer few internships (paid or unpaid) or apprenticeship programs, and many offer no training whatsoever. They expect the workers to be trained by someone else and be experienced when hired, and fill the role requirements right away without any delay whatsoever! Few consider the option of candidates who need a certain amount of training and time to ramp up.
The Law of Unintended Financial Consequences:
Over the past few years, economic challenges were frequently addressed through cost cutting measures that included reductions in force, furloughs, and elimination of merit increases and bonuses. The result: the employer/employee relationship has been redefined in ways that shift from employee loyalty to “every man for himself”. As the economy improves and new opportunities are emerging, workers who experienced years of flat or reduced compensation are “following the money”. Companies who do not keep their finger on the pulse of competitive market rates will fall behind in the race for best talent.
The ‘Go It Alone” Syndrome:
Many community colleges are developing programs aimed at re-skilling workers to aid in transitioning to emerging positions in their area. Smart companies are partnering with these academic institutions, having courses and curriculum tailored to their particular needs. Unfortunately, few companies are taking advantage of this relatively untapped source of assistance. .
The “Grass is Always Greener” Syndrome:
Some employers tend to ignore internal candidates when filling vacancies, assuming that external candidates are better qualified or can be hired at a lower rate. This short-sightedness fails to recognize that internal candidates already understand the company’s culture and work processes, shortening the time needed to come up to speed in the new position. To make matters worse, when employees see no opportunity for advancement the top performing employees are more likely to seek career advancement opportunities with other companies. Similarly, temporary workers who see no opportunities for extended assignments or temp-to-perm conversions are not likely to accept assignments with these companies.
Closely examine your company’s recent history and employment attitudes to determine if you are viewed as an “employer of choice”. A change in employer mindset and approach to talent development may be in order!.
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