Today’s guest post is geared toward the individual job seeker or employee, rather than the company HR person. It is written by Helen Sabell, who is my first Australian author.
Recently you may have heard the term “skills gap” referenced in various media sources, and you may be wondering what does it really mean? And is it applicable to you? Well, the “skills gap refers to the difference between skills potential employers are seeking and the skills workers have to offer. What this means for you is that by addressing skills that fall into this gap, you may be able to put yourself ahead of other job candidates.
Read on to learn about the top five skills gap opportunities in the current workforce.
Whether you are re-entering the workforce or pursuing a career change, it is important to make sure you have recent, relevant work experience. With the rapid pace of change happening in today’s workforce, employers count on potential employees to be up-to-date with how their industry is operating.
However, the common problem arising for job seekers is the inability to find companies willing to take them on so that they can gain this experience. Unpaid internships and volunteer positions are an excellent idea to help get your foot in the door, as well as adult training courses which can help keep your skills current.
Job seekers tend to underestimate the importance of basic communication skills but it can make a major difference in whether they are successful candidates or not. No matter what industry you are looking into, the value of basic communication skills never wanes. It is important to identify early onwards if you believe this is a weakness of yours.
The good news about communication skills is that they can be taught! Adult learning courses address the key communication skills you need to succeed. For example, a Diploma of Leadership and Management addresses the fundamentals of good communication and can increase your employability by adding to your leadership skills.
As with most interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence does not come easy. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to accurately identify and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is a great asset to employers as it helps increase personal well-being and teamwork.
You can increase your emotional intelligence through furthering your learning. Adult learning is a great way to gain an understanding of how diverse and progressive the workforce is. Some adult training courses even devote entire units towards learning emotional intelligence as it is a fundamental skill that all workers require to be successful. Such a skill is developed through experience and putting yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Leadership skills are a must in today’s workforce, with so many roles requiring individuals to demonstrate team leadership. Most employers will assess your leadership skills and experience before hiring you so that they are aware of whether you are a good asset to their company. Ideally, employers want employees that have the potential to progress in their role and rise to higher positions.
You can form leadership skills through formal adult training and experience. If you believe this is a weakness of yours, it is important to begin addressing it as soon as possible. Too many job seekers fall into the skills gap due to their lack of skills regarding organization and communication. It is important to remember that employers want a candidate that is worth investing their time and money in. You need to demonstrate that you have the abilities to excel beyond your role.
Technology is not only a major industry but it is also an aspect of every job field. If you have been in the same position for a number of years, chances are that you may be a bit behind in the new technologies being used in the workforce. This is a major issue for employers, as it creates a gap in the skills needed for potential employees and the skills they possess.
It is important to remember that no matter how long you have been in the workforce, practical and theoretical knowledge is subject to change. Technology has taken the forefront for increasing productivity and quality in the workplace so it is important you have basic computer skills. Adult learning can help bridge the gap between your knowledge and the skills potential employers expect you to have.
The skills gap is a hindrance to employers causing loss of productivity and work quality. The best way for job seekers to avoid falling into this trap is to engage in adult training. In our present day, education is so accessible, especially with the introduction of eLearning.
If you believe you are lacking some of the key skills employers are looking for, consider undertaking a short adult learning course to refresh and build upon your knowledge.
About the author
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs.